Summer should be about lazy days at the beach, picnics on the riverbank and swimming. But increasingly we have a new summer ritual of warnings in newspapers around the country; warnings telling you to stay out of the local beaches, lakes and many of the rivers where families and friends have traditionally gathered each summer.
This January alone there have been more than 20 such warnings. The one that takes the cake however is the high bacteria count in Marlborough’s Taylor River forcing an annual raft race to take place on dry land, along the riverbank.
Here are some results of a quick search:
Hawkes Bay, Tukituki; Wellington, Waipoua; Wellington, Ruamahanga; Wellington, Hutt River; Wellington, Henley Lake; Canterbury, Lake Ellesmere; Canterbury, Selwyn River; Canterbury, Ashley River; Canterbury, Opihi River; Canterbury, Pareora River; Nelson, Matakitaki River; Nelson, Mangles River; Nelson, Matiri River; Nelson, Buller River; Manawatu, Oroua; Manawatu, Tokomaru; Manawatu, Mowhanau Stream; Manawatu, Kaikokopu Stream (Print version only); Manawatu, Waikawa Estuary (Print version only); Otago, Lake Waihola; Southland, Aparima River; Southland, Waikaia River; Southland Mataura River.
We shouldn’t have to worry about whether we are going to get sick if we go swimming in our lakes, rivers and estuaries.
We need clean water rules through a stronger National Policy Statement and national environmental standards. When it’s hot we want to be able to head down to the river for a swim just as we did when we were young.