It’s easy to find swimming water quality before you leave home. During summer, we regularly monitor the water quality at more than 100 of our region’s popular rivers, lakes and beaches. This helps us to assess conditions, trends and public health risks. The grades are based on guidelines established by the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Health.

Land, Air, Water Aotearoa's (LAWA) online guide for water quality

Land, Air, Water Aotearoa's (LAWA) has a comprehensive online guide to help you know where’s good to swim.

The site is updated weekly through summer, generally within 24 to 48 hours of sampling — just in time for the weekend.

Sites graded very good, good and fair are considered suitable for contact recreation such as swimming and kayaking. Sites graded fair may not be suitable at times — for example, after heavy rainfall. Sites graded poor or very poor are not suitable for contact recreation and should be avoided. 

Monitoring freshwater and coastal sites 

We monitor for E. coli and cyanobacteria (toxic algae) at freshwater (lakes and rivers) sites, and enterococci bacteria at coastal sites. If the results show the water at a site has changed and may be unsuitable for recreation, Canterbury District Health Board or South Canterbury District Health Board will issue a health warning for that site and it will be listed on our ‘Health Warnings’ page and the LAWA website.

If a site is generally unsuitable for swimming, permanent signage should be erected at the site.

For the most up-to-date information on more than 100 swimming spots around Canterbury, visit LAWA.