Health Warnings

Before you jump in know what you're getting in to

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council monitors the lakes for algal blooms.

We monitor 13 sites for blue-green algae spread across four lakes; Lake Rotorua, Lake Rotoiti, Lake Rotoehu and Lake Ōkaro (we also monitor Lake Tarawera if required). These sites have been selected because they’ve been known to bloom in the past, and because they’re regularly used by the public for recreational activities, it’s important to ensure the water is safe.  

Sites are given an alert level status based on the number of bacteria found, and these results help us decide whether a health warning should be put in place.

Yet, water sampling is only a snapshot from a particular time and place. Water quality can change quickly especially at the start of an algae bloom or after heavy rain when contaminants can be washed off the land and into waterways.

People should avoid swimming for at least two to three days after heavy or prolonged rain, even for sites that usually have good water quality. If you can’t see your toes in calf deep water, or lake water looks green and cloudy, it is best to wait until the water clears before taking a dip.

People should also avoid swimming near potential sources of contamination such as flocks of birds.

Can I swim here?

Head over to the LAWA website using the link below where you’ll find full results on where it’s safe to swim and the facilities at each site. 

Click here

Water Quality

Details of Recent Water Quality Tests

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Public should always be cautious for signs of algal blooms if using lakes. 

If the water looks discoloured, has an unusual smell, or has green or brown particles suspended in it then it is best to avoid contact with it.

Contact with water affected by blooms of blue-green algae can cause asthma and hayfever attacks in some individuals. Contact with the blue-green algae can also cause skin rashes, stomach upsets, and in some cases neurological effects such as tingling around the mouth, headaches, breathing difficulties and visual problems.

Algae may also accumulate and form scum collections along the shoreline of the lakes. It is especially important that parents ensure that children avoid contact with both the water and any algal scum along the shoreline as this may be toxic. It is also advisable to keep pets and livestock out of the water and off the shoreline.

Check the Toi Te Ora Health Warnings page for further information or the site details for sampling history.

Kaituna RiverTrout Pool0.2580.4619495.14911
ŌkaroBoat Ramp0.6830.38650.221425
RotoehuKennedy Bay0.0140.9494478.64643
RotoitiOkawa Bay0.9740.949008181.938
Okere Arm1.4480.0205483.5665
Te Weta0.0350.3636815.2861
Holdens Bay1.2030.6724472.43366
Ohau Channel1.2620.1804020.024761