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University student helps keep an eye on water quality

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is keeping a close eye on the region’s favourite swimming spots throughout summer.

From November through to mid-March every summer HBRC’s science team regularly monitors water quality at more than 30 popular recreational water spots throughout the region.

Much of the testing is undertaken by Massey University Environmental Science student Andrew Horrell, who is working at HBRC through his summer holidays as part of the Council’s summer student programme. The council employs a range of forestry, engineering and science students throughout the university holidays.

HBRC Coastal Quality Scientist Anna Madarasz-Smith says the monitored sites have been selected after surveying the public about their favourite swimming spots and measuring them against the national guidelines.

The public can check if their favourite swimming spot is ‘good to go’ by clicking on the ‘Swim through Summer’ logo at www.hbrc.govt.nz .

At the end of the season HBRC calculates the “suitability for recreation grade” for each of the swim spots it monitors. It combines the weekly sampling over the previous five years, with a catchment risk assessment to produce a grade between “Very Good” and “Very Poor”

Anna Madarasz-Smith says the water quality at Hawke’s Bay beaches is excellent most of the time, and while our rivers and streams can be affected by run-off after heavy rain they are typically OK to swim during the summer during periods of settled flow.

The results of HBRC’s summer monitoring are shared on the national Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) www.lawa.org.nz website, which aims to be New Zealand's most comprehensive source of water quality, water quantity and air quality data. It provides the current state and trend information for New Zealand's rivers and lakes, water use and availability, bathing beaches and air quality.

5 February 2018

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