Summer’s barely begun and too many lakes & rivers are already unsafe for swimming

Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, and Canterbury lakes are under threat this summer as poor water quality management has led to toxic algal blooms that make even wading and boating unsafe for human health, the Green Party said.

“Summer’s barely begun and already we’re seeing too many waterways that aren’t even safe for boating and wading, let alone swimming,” Green Party fresh water spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.

“So much toxic algal bloom this early in the summer is a clear sign that the National Government’s fresh water strategy has failed to keep our waterways clean.

“I challenge National Party MPs to explain to kids this summer why they risk getting sick by swimming in so many of our local rivers and lakes.

“Many people all over the country work hard to keep our rivers and lakes clean but the National Government undermines their hard work by setting useless and ineffective fresh water management strategies to exploit the environment for short-term profit.

“People who are travelling around our beautiful country this summer should look out for the great work being done by some farmers to fence off and plant alongside streams and rivers, but we also need to put in place new and stronger rules that stop so much nitrogen and phosphorus leaching into our rivers.

“Kiwis should be able to enjoy swimming in our rivers and lakes this summer, but National’s failure to protect the health of our waterways will deny too many people that right,” said Ms Delahunty.

Toxic algal blooms are caused by excessive nitrates leaching into waterways, mostly from dairy farms, and reacting with sunlight. They usually appear at the height of summer, rather than this early.

These waterways are currently affected by toxic algal blooms:

In Waikato and Hawke’s Bay:

  • Lake Whangape
  • Lake Waikare
  • Lake Ngaroto
  • Lake Rotokaeo
  • Lake Rotoroa
  • Lake Tutira

In Canterbury:

  • Lake Rotorua
  • Lake Forsyth
  • Lake Ellesmere Te Waihora
  • Tengawai River at Pleasant Point
  • Selwyn River at Coes Ford
  • Waihi River at Winchester
  • Temuka River at Mause Bridge
  • Opihi River at Waipopo
  • Pareora River


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