We monitor bacteria levels at popular coastal and freshwater swimming spots every summer, with data fed directly to the maps in this section of the website.
In Taranaki, most people swim at the beach rather than in rivers. Results of our monitoring of the region's popular coastal beaches are consistently better than the national average. In 2015/16, 99% of samples were within national guidelines. Opunake beach had the best quality. Ohawe beach showed the highest level of bacteria, but the median was still well within the guidelines.
Monitoring shows that water quality at popular river bathing spots continues to be better than a decade ago. Undeniably, it is far better than in the 1960s and 1970s, when waterways were routinely contaminated with partially treated municipal sewage and/or raw, untreated dairy effluent. Today, wildfowl and gulls are the major source of contamination at the few sites that exceed health risk guidelines.
Monitoring for summer 2018-2019 will begin in November 2018.
Full monitoring summary
See our healthy waterways report for the latest monitoring summary. For more detailed information, download the annual scientific reports:
Coastal bathing beaches
Freshwater recreational bathing
Water quality at popular freshwater bathing sites is monitored over the summer season from November to March, with results available to the public.Freshwater recreational bathing summer 2017-2018 (5 MB pdf) Earlier reports