Most beaches estuaries and rivers in Thames-Coromandel are safe to swim – monitoring from Waikato Regional Council shows

The summer monitoring program of Thames Coromandel beaches, estuaries and rivers carried by Waikato Regional Council has shown that most are safe to swim, but there are a few concerning locations.

During the 2021/22 season, faecal indicator bacteria concentrations and/or cyanobacteria counts exceeded guideline values on a few occasions.

Open beaches were mostly suitable for swimming, with two incidences of the guidelines for enterococci being exceeded, including one at Buffalo Beach.

Five estuary sites were monitored in the past summer for enterococci and E. coli bacteria including at Tairua and Whangamatā. Five cases of the enterococci guideline were exceeded in the Waikato region, four of which were at the Tairua Pepe Stream; and four above the E. coli guideline – three of which were at Tairua Pepe Stream. At Whangamatā caution was required in December and February.

Nine river sites were monitored weekly for E. coli from December to February, with 22 samples found to be above the recreational guideline.  Just one river in Thames Coromandel – the Kauaeranga river was found to briefly exceed the limits.

“Overall, the results show how fortunate we are to have mostly good water quality for swimming in Thames Coromandel”, said Thames Coromandel representative on the Waikato Regional Council, Denis Tegg. “There are major issues with unswimmable rivers and lakes in other parts of the region.”

“But there is no room for complacency.  The multiple exceedances at Tairua are a concern and more investigation into the causes is required”, said Cr Tegg

“Issues relating to public health require a multi-agency approach. Council works closely with district health boards and territorial authorities to ensure that the public receives relevant information as soon as practicable” Cr Tegg said.

“The Regional Council is looking for ways to reduce the time it takes for water quality results to be available, and how we can make it easier for people to find the information they need.”

The “Can I Swim Here” page on the Land Air Water Aotearoa platform (LAWA; ) provides a one-stop-shop for water quality results.  If you are travelling to another part of the country for a holiday, you can find information on the same web page that you use when swimming closer to home”

Denis Tegg

Thames Coromandel representative on the Waikato Regional Council,