Community leaders in West Auckland are delighted at the progress of work to improve water quality out west.
The latest Safeswim upgrade for the summer will see the long-term public health alerts at North Piha Lagoon and Titirangi beach removed and replaced with the familiar Safeswim predictive models.
Removal of the long-term alert at North Piha Lagoon was made possible by recent data collection, which has helped better understand and predict the periods of high-risk, while the change at Titirangi Beach follows comprehensive investigations during 2019 and 2020.
They identified and fixed numerous public and private defects and cross-connections in the drainage networks, and there was a step-change improvement in water quality at the beach as a result.
Waitākere Ward Councillor Linda Cooper says that the lifting of the long-term alerts is fantastic news. “An awful lot of work has gone into improving the water quality at these locations, which we know are incredibly popular with locals and visitors alike.
“It's great news for all involved and a testament to the work we are doing to help clean up our beaches and streams.”
Waitākere Ranges Local Board Chair Saffron Toms is also delighted.
“Our board has long prioritised a healthy and thriving coastal environment, so this news is music to our ears,” she says.
“Our Big Blue Waitākere Report [PDF] has provided a sound base to build our knowledge, workstreams and advocacy in this area. Huge gratitude is due to all the staff in the Safeswim team and the members of the community who’ve worked so hard to get to this point.
“We still have a long way to go, but this recent news for North Piha Lagoon and Titirangi beach is a great cause for celebration.”
Meanwhile, Chapman Strand and Taipari Strand on the Te Atatu Peninsula will also be added to the Safeswim programme, providing real-time and predicted water quality information for the locations.
Waitākere Ward Councillor Shane Henderson has paid tribute to Te Wai o Pareira - Rivercare group who have worked to get the two locations added to the Safeswim monitoring programme.
“There is a tremendous amount of community work going on in the area to improve Te Wai o Pareira / Henderson Creek. From planting days to restoration work and beyond, the community has really come together to try and improve the ecology of the area.
“With updated modelling and monitoring provided by Safeswim and the community, as well as on-site signage warning of potential hazards, it’s a step in the right direction to improving the water quality of the awa and warning the public of potential danger posed there.” He says.
Henderson-Massey Local Board Chair Vanessa Neeson agrees. “The passion and drive of the community is really making a difference in the area, and the board pays tribute to them,” she says.
“Whatever happens the most important thing will be to check the quality of the water before getting in, this summer, and in Safeswim we have the perfect tool to do so.”
Check before you swim
Before you head to the beach this summer, check Safeswim for live information on water quality and swimming conditions at safeswim.org.nz