Is it Safe to Swim?
During summer, Wellington’s regional, city and district councils monitor the quality of water at popular beaches and rivers each week. Toxic algae, which can be dangerous for dogs, is also monitored at river sites.
Our water quality in the region is usually very good, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you dunk your head under. Especially if you’re a dog!
Check our interactive alert map for the latest water quality and toxic algae information.
If you notice a problem with water quality then you can report it to us on 0800 496 734.
Water quality in our rivers and at our beaches is generally pretty good over the summer, except after heavy rain.
Heavy rain flushes contaminants from urban and rural land into waterways and we advise you not to swim for at least two days after heavy or prolonged rain – even if a site generally has good water quality.
In summer, the Hutt River regularly has high levels of toxic algae.
The algae forms leathery looking mats on rocks in the riverbed, ranging from blackish/brown to dark green in colour. These mats can come loose and wash up on the edge of the rivers, or floating in shallow water. As they dry out they turn light brown or white and produce a strong musty smell.
Deadly for dogs
Dogs love the musty smell and may try to eat the mats if they get the chance. The algae produces a powerful neurotoxin, and in extreme cases, dogs can die within 30 minutes after the first signs of poisoning.
The best thing you can do to keep your dog safe is:
If you think your dog may have eaten algae, take it to a vet immediately.
This video shows you what to look out for:
If you are travelling outside of the Greater Wellington region you can find national water quality information on LAWA. LAWA is a key resource for measuring the current state of New Zealand's waterways and shows longer-term trends, information and data.