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Health warnings

Water quality in the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes is monitored all year round.   If levels of toxic algae are too high a health warning will be issued.  The monitoring locations and latest results can be viewed here.

Current health warnings

Lake

Health Warning Status

Rotoma

None

Tikitapu (Blue Lake)

None

Okataina

None

Tarawera

None

Okareka

None

Rerewhakaaitu

None

Rotoiti

None

Rotokakahi

None

Rotomahana

None

Rotorua

None

Rotoehu

Red alert

Okaro

Red alert

Live monitoring of all the lakes can be viewed here.

For information on health warnings in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes visit www.ttophs.govt.nz and click on health warnings or call 0800 221 555 and select option 7 to speak to the on call health protection team.

What does a health warning mean?

If a health warning is in place, it means that cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) are present in large numbers in that bay or lake. Cyanobacteria are capable of producing toxins that are harmful to humans and animals if swallowed or if skin is exposed to them (when swimming, skiing or kayaking etc).

Never swim or take part in any activity that may result in accidental consumption or exposure to water affected by algal blooms if a health warning is in place for that area, even if there are no visible signs of a bloom.

The Medical Officer of Health advises against drinking water from the lakes at any time.

Having contact with water when an algal bloom is occurring can cause:

  • severe dermatitis
  • burning or itching of the skin
  • erythematous wheals
  • redness of lips and eyes
  • sore throat
  • asthma symptoms
  • dizziness

There have been some concerns raised about chronic toxicity effects from eating trout from Rotorua lakes with cyanobacterial blooms. Research so far has indicated that unless trout is eaten every day, there should be no long-term effects from toxins. However, the internal organs of the fish absorb much higher toxin levels and should not be eaten.