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Toxic Algae Season Is Here

With the onset of warmer weather the risk of toxic algae throughout the greater Wellington region is rising, with some rivers now over the limit for safe swimming.

People are strongly advised not to swim in the Waipoua River from Paierau Road to the Ruamahanga confluence (this includes the Masterton City area), and the Pakuratahi River at the Kaitoke camp ground in the Kaitoke Regional Park.

Children should be kept away from water in these sites and dogs should be kept on a lead.

“All other rivers are currently below warning levels at our monitored sites but this could change rapidly especially during warm weather, so we are urging people to be careful near all waterways throughout the region,” says Dr Mark Heath, Senior Environmental Scientist at Greater Wellington.

Given the rapid growth of toxic algae, and its potential change in coverage between weekly monitoring points, people are also urged to know what it looks like.

They should check out information signs around popular swimming holes and visit Greater Wellington’s Is it Safe to Swim? website at http://www.gw.govt.nz/safeswim/ and its Facebook page for more information about, and images of, toxic algae.

To view a video on toxic algae go to: https://youtu.be/0frz3eahqLA

“The more people know about toxic algae, the more likely they are to know how to avoid it and stay safe by the water,” says Dr Heath.

For information on water safety at monitored sites, people should also go to the Land Air Water website at: https://www.lawa.org.nz/explore-data/swimming/

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