Can I swim here?

Find out if it's safe to swim in your favourite spot over summer.

Every Monday, from 1 November to 31 March, we check water quality at 40 sites at rivers, lakes and the coast all over Taranaki.

Results are updating on this page and LAWA(external link) by mid-week.

Where to swim

  Suitable for swimming. This site met the water quality guidelines for swimming and has a low health risk.

Caution advised.  Water quality is usually suitable for swimming, but young children, the elderly, or those with compromised health may be at increased risk

Unsuitable for swimming.  This site did not meet the water quality standards for swimming. This site has a high health risk.

 Data unavailable. The data is temporarily unavailable.

What to look out for - signs of poor water quality

Heavy rainfall

Heavy rain flushes contaminants from urban and rural land into waterways.

Stormwater can contain human and animal waste, toxic materials, debris, agriculture and urban runoff. 

In town centres, rain is also the leading cause of sewage overflows. 

We advise you not to swim for 2 to 3 days after heavy or prolonged rain – even at sites that generally have good water quality. 

In the case of sewage overflows, there should be no shellfish gathering for at least 28 days.

Toxic algae - Microcoleus (Phormidium)

Potentially toxic algae are naturally occurring and live in a range of waterways.

During the summer months, when rainfall is low toxic algae can start to bloom and produce toxins.

These natural toxins, known as cyanotoxins, can be a threat to humans and animals when eaten, even licked, or when water containing the toxins is swallowed.

Potentially toxic algae differ from harmless bright green algae.

In rivers (and occasionally lakes), potentially toxic algae generally form brown or black mats that grow on rocks in the river bed. 

In lakes, potentially toxic algae blooms are generally green in colour and can give lakes a ‘pea soup’ appearance.

When exposed, the algae may dry out and turn a light brown or white colour and may also produce a strong musty odour.

Murky water

Murky water can make the water unsuitable and unsafe for swimming. 

If you can't see your feet in water that's knee-high deep - it's best to keep out of the water.


Select a site in Taranaki to see the water quality and test history. To find the best places to swim throughout Aotearoa and helpful information on recreational monitoring in New Zealand - visit

Local partners

We work closely with local District Councils and the Taranaki District Health Board to keep you safe during the swimming season. Check out their websites for more information. 

Taranaki District Health Board(external link)

New Plymouth District Council(external link)

Stratford District Council(external link)

South Taranaki District Council(external link)

Bathing water quality

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.