Recreational Water Quality

Water quality results for popular rivers and beaches in the district.

Monitoring water quality

We monitor our popular beaches and rivers regularly in partnership with Greater Wellington.

To view an interactive map with the latest results from water testing at popular rivers and beaches across Kāpiti visit the Greater Wellington Regional Council website here. (this map is not interactive during the winter months).

To view Kāpiti beach and river sampling result graphs over your choice of time period click here

To view further information about the monitoring programme click here.

Is it safe to swim in Kāpiti - view the 2016/17 Report Card here

Swimming after rainfall

We advise against swimming or other types of water recreation for up to two days after heavy or prolonged rainfall. This is because urban or agricultural runoff often affects water quality at these times. Warning signs will not generally be erected when high bacteria levels coincide with rainfall.

Toxic algae (cyanobacteria) in rivers and streams

You can expect some degree of blue green algae in the Waikanae River (from SH1 to the river mouth) and to a lesser extent the Otaki River during warmer months and sometimes even during mild winters. 

Algal blooms and dislodged algal mats can occur along the river at any time and, given dogs are particularly susceptible, there is always a risk of harm to your dog if you allow it to swim or scavenge in the lower reaches of our rivers and streams. 

The public will be notified should toxic algae reach levels that could be harmful to humans at any of our monitored recreational water sites.

For more information on toxic algae click here

Bacteria levels in streams

Bacteria levels in some of the small streams around Kāpiti may be high enough to cause illness in those who come in contact with them.

While our regularly monitored river and beach sites generally meet the national microbiological water guidelines for being safe to swim, it is not uncommon for small streams in urban and rural areas to contain levels of bacteria above recommended levels to be safe for swimming or paddling

Contamination in streams and stream mouths can come from wildfowl such as ducks, runoff from agricultural/horticultural areas and stock.

The highest levels of contamination usually occur during periods of heavy rainfall. However, levels can still be unsuitable for contact even during dry weather.

Swimming or paddling in streams with high bacteria levels increases the chance of developing health issues such as tummy upsets (nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhoea) or infections of the eyes, ears, throat or skin.  These illnesses are caused by viruses or bacteria such as campylobacter, salmonella, giardia and cryptosporidium.

Young children can be especially susceptible to illness because of their tendency to splash in water and swallow it when they put their hands in their mouths.

All our popular beaches and rivers - which we monitor regularly in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council - continue to provide a safe location for swimming and other water-based recreational activities. ​

Related links

Microbiological Water Quality Guidelines for Marine and Freshwater Recreational Area - MfE website 

Contact us

Kāpiti Coast District Council
175 Rimu Road
Private Bag 60601
Paraparaumu 5254

04 296 4700 
0800 486 486
Fax: 04 296 4830

Opening hours:

8am to 5pm - Monday to Friday

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