Waitangi swim off the table for Aucklanders

Last Updated : 04 Feb 2023
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The sun’s out and summer might finally be on its way, but Auckland Council and Watercare encourages everyone to stay out of the water and to not swim this weekend until conditions have returned to ‘green’ on Safeswim.

Please check Safeswim regularly for updates before you swim at safeswim.org.nz

“This decision has not been taken lightly,” says Nick Vigar, Auckland Council’s Safeswim Programme Manager.

“We know this will be frustrating for Aucklanders, but the recent flood events have had a significant impact on our beaches. Flood waters have washed debris into our waterways and these hazards may still be in the water.”

“Slips and cliff instability also put beaches at risk, with the threat of rockfall and debris falling onto the sand below. To keep everyone safe, we are asking Aucklanders to stay away from our beaches this long weekend to allow time for the water quality to improve and clean-ups to take place,” he adds.  

Watercare executive director special projects Andrew Chin says: “All of our major pump stations that were damaged in last Friday’s storm are now fixed and operating again.

"However, there may be issues in our network that we don’t yet know about. We have hundreds of pipe bridges and engineered overflow points across Auckland, and we’re starting to inspect these to check for things like cracks or breaks.

“Domestic wastewater is just one of the many hazards in floodwater that can be harmful to people’s health, so we strongly urge people to stay out of the water this weekend.”

If you are running an event this weekend in the water or at a beach, Auckland Council recommends postponing until conditions are better.

Credit Emily Chalk

Credit Emily Chalk

Matt Williams, CEO Surf Life Saving Northern asks Aucklanders to exercise caution and avoid the coast.

“We know that our beaches are a big part of what Aucklanders look forward to on long weekends, and it will be tempting to want a day at the beach if the sun comes out.

However, we must be clear that this is not safe in Auckland while we are experiencing severe water quality issues and the coastline should be avoided until these issues clear.”

Vigar says: “Water quality testing is underway across the region. Safeswim will be updating water quality advice site by site as information becomes available. However a black pin will remain in force at all urban beaches until we can be confident there is no contamination from either the wastewater network and other sources of contamination. For urban beaches we imagine that black pins will stay in place until after the long weekend.”

“We are dealing with a lot of damage from the storm that has flow-on effects to our beaches and so our main priority is your safety.”

Safeswim will be updating water quality advice site by site as information becomes available. Check the site regularly for up-to-date advice on water quality.

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