Is it safe to swim?

Published on 27 December 2021

Is it safe to swim toxic algae Upper Hutt.jpg

Summer in Upper Hutt is often long and warm, bringing less rain and dry winds. We usually experience higher than normal water usage, which puts pressure on our water supply and can contribute to low water levels.

With warmer temperatures and lower water levels, cyanobacteria (also known as freshwater toxic algae), can grow in our waterways and form extensive blooms. These can be dangerous, particularly to dogs if they eat algae mats that wash up along the edges of rivers and lakes.

It’s important that you know how to recognise toxic algae. In lakes, if the water has a ‘pea soup’ appearance it could contain cyanobacteria. In rivers, look for black, green or brown slime on rocks, or brown or black ‘mats’ at a river’s edge that have a velvety texture and an earthy/musty smell.

Greater Wellington Regional Council and Regional Public Health work together to monitor the safety of our waterways, and issue warnings when blooms occur. 

Check if it’s safe to swim on the Greater Wellington Regional Council website:

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