It’s really easy to find out before you head out. During summer, Environment Canterbury regularly monitors 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 and just before the weekend.

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

How is our swimming water quality tracking?

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. 

Read the 2018/19 annual report (PDF File, 31.76MB).