Long term safety warnings at a number of Auckland swimming spots have been lifted following work by Auckland Council and Watercare’s Safe Networks programme.
Mayor Phil Goff is delighted the long-term warnings at Titirangi, Wairau Outlet and Piha North Lagoon have been removed.
“Aucklanders love our region’s beaches and it’s fantastic to see the work we’re doing to improve water quality, reduce contamination and make more beaches swimmable, delivering results,” he says.
“The Safe Networks programme, funded by the Water Quality Targeted Rate, has identified and resolved contamination and network issues causing poor water quality at Titirangi and Wairau Outlet, and alongside further Safeswim monitoring, has enabled us to lift the long-term warnings those beaches so they can be enjoyed by more Aucklanders this summer.”
In addition to the removal of the long-term warnings, nine new beaches in Auckland have been added to the Safeswim website to display real-time water quality status.
People can now check conditions at Muriwai, Torpedo Bay, Kauri Point, St Annes, Gooseberry Flat, Karaka Bay, Chapman Strand, Taipari Strand and Te Tinana (Wilsons Beach).
The water quality improvements at Titirangi Beach and Wairau Outlet follow interventions by the joint Auckland Council and Watercare’s Safe Networks programme.
Extensive investigations at Titirangi beach have resulted in a step-change in water quality. Investigations at Wairau Outlet are ongoing; however, water quality has improved enough to remove the long-term alert.
North Shore Ward Councillor Richard Hills is ecstatic about the removal of the permanent warning at Wairau Estuary which has been a huge focus for him and the community.
“There is still a lot of work to do but it’s great to see Safe Networks and the Water Quality Targeted Rate investment continuing to show signs of success like it has in the Wairau Estuary, Titirangi and previously at Takapuna and other beaches and waterways across Tāmaki Makaurau,” says Councillor Hills.
As chair of Environment and Climate Change Committee he says, “Large infrastructure projects like the central interceptor often take the focus but it shows that Healthy Waters and Watercare teams meticulously going door to door, investigating and addressing smaller issues through our regional water quality improvement programmes can make a huge difference too.
“Community advocacy from local volunteers and local residents fixing problems with their own private infrastructure plays a huge part as well.
“It is also fantastic to see additional Safeswim sites come on stream, Safeswim was recently recognised by World Health Organisation as a powerful communication tool giving people the information they need to decide when and where to swim. This award-winning initiative deserves all the praise it receives.
“Safeswim uses sophisticated models to predict water quality plus water sampling, and real-time information from multiple sources to tell you what the swimming conditions are like right now,” Mr Hills says.
A Safeswim pilot programme will get underway at beaches around Northland this summer, from Mangawhai Heads to as far north as Ahipara.
This will allow Safeswim programme partner Surf Lifesaving Northern Region to bring the benefits of Safeswim’s hazard reporting to all of their customers.
In addition, Surf Life Saving New Zealand will be using Safeswim this summer at all beaches around the country patrolled by surf lifesavers to display patrol hours and beach information.
Chief Executive Officer Surf Life Saving Northern Region Matt Williams says beaches will be busy, and lifeguards will be dealing with limited operating capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We ask that people be responsible around the water and to check the Safeswim platform before heading to the beach or getting into the water.”
Before you head to the beach this summer, check Safeswim for live information on water quality and swimming conditions at safeswim.org.nz