It’s really easy to find swimming water quality before you leave home. During summer, we regularly monitor the water quality at more than 100 of our region’s favourite rivers, streams and beaches. This helps us to assess conditions, trends and public health risks. The grades are based on guidelines established by the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Health.

(external link)Land, Air, Water Aotearoa's (LAWA) online guide for water quality

Land, Air, Water Aotearoa's (LAWA)(external link) has a comprehensive online guide to help you know where’s good to swim.

The site is updated weekly through summer, generally within 24 to 48 hours of sampling — just in time for the weekend.

Sites graded very good, good and fair are considered suitable for contact recreation such as swimming and kayaking. Sites graded fair may not be suitable at times — for example, after heavy rainfall. Sites graded poor or very poor are not suitable for contact recreation and should be avoided. 

How is our swimming water quality tracking?

We have recently released our annual report (PDF File, 8.45MB) on trends in recreational water quality at Canterbury’s popular freshwater sites. Our reporting also includes warnings for potentially-toxic cyanobacteria at the beginning of each summer.

If a health warning is issued by the Canterbury District Health Board for a freshwater site, you can find it here.

Some changes to grades have been recorded since our 2019 annual recreational water quality report, which is why it’s important to look before you leap and check a site’s swimming water quality on LAWA before you head out.

Each year we report on trends in recreational water quality at Canterbury’s popular freshwater sites. 

Our reporting also includes the warnings for potentially toxic cyanobacteria, at the beginning of each summer. 

For the most up to date information this summer on more than 100 swimming spots around Canterbury, visit LAWA(external link).