Empowering the community to monitor river swimming spots

From mid-December, NIWA and Greater Wellington Regional Council staff, have been working with a group of enthusiastic community members in Upper Hutt to monitor water quality and other indicators of importance to people who recreate in the Hutt River near Poets Park.

Every week the group of volunteers has met on-site to collect a water sample for E. coli analysis and make estimates or take measurements of water temperature, conductivity, visual water clarity, nuisance periphyton and cyanobacteria cover. They also survey the amount and type of rubbish present. The volunteers are performing the E. coli testing themselves and are comparing their results with those of Greater Wellington Regional Council staff who carry out monitoring on the same day.

More about the citizen science: Find out more Summer Series 2017 - Citizen scientists take on Hutt River.

Supporting community volunteer monitoring of recreational waters was one of five key areas discussed in a position paper NIWA prepared for the New Zealand regional sector addressing monitoring and reporting issues in relation to recreational use of fresh and coastal waters.

Read the position paper: Helping councils voice a position on improving monitoring and reporting of ‘swimmability’ in New Zealand

More articles: Freshwater Update 76, March 2018