Recreational water quality - is it safe to swim?
Kāpiti has many places that are popular for swimming and other activities. Keeping yourself up to date on our recreational water quality is important. This page covers:
We work with Greater Wellington Regional Council to regularly monitor our swimming sites. Kāpiti’s water cleanliness is generally safe for swimming and other water-based recreational activities.
Water quality results are updated twice daily on Greater Wellington’s interactive map – this is the best way to check if the water quality at your favourite spot is safe for swimming. You can find out more about water quality monitoring from Greater Wellington’s Water quality and monitoring FAQs.
- check Greater Wellington’s interactive map for water quality at different sites before you head out
- be aware of any increased risk, particularly for the very young, very old, and other vulnerable groups
- in summer there’s less waterflow and rain to flush rivers, so the risk of poor water quality (and so getting sick) increases
- wait 48 hours after rain before swimming; heavy rain flushes contaminants from urban and rural land into our waterways, making water quality unsafe for swimming
- if you choose to go against this advice and swim after rain, avoid putting your head under, and supervise toddlers to make sure they don’t swallow water
- avoid swimming in streams; we don’t recommend swimming in streams or where streams and rivers come out at the beach, especially during hot summer months
- signs will only go up if tests show water quality has reached ‘red/action’ level, when water poses an unacceptable health risk from swimming.
For more information, and where and what we monitor for, see Greater Wellington’s Water quality and monitoring FAQs.
It’s normal to expect some degree of blue green algae in the Waikanae River (from SH1 to the river mouth) and in the Ōtaki River during warmer months and sometimes even during mild winters.
- There’s always a risk of harm to your dog if you let it swim or scavenge in the lower reaches of our rivers and streams, because algal blooms and dislodged algal mats can occur along the river at any time.
- If toxic algae reaches harmful levels for humans in any of our monitored recreational water sites, we’ll release public notifications to let everyone know.
For more information on toxic algae, see Greater Wellington’s Toxic algae FAQs.