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Coastal recreational water quality

Waikato Regional Council monitors a number of popular open coast beaches during the summer months to assess the suitability of the water for recreation such as swimming and surfing. We monitor these beaches weekly from November to March and the results are presented on this page.

We monitor the suitability of the water at these beaches by measuring faecal indicator bacteria (enterococci in coastal waters). The number of bacteria present in the water indicate the likelihood of contracting a disease from many possible pathogens in the water such as bacteria or viruses. Results from the monitoring programme are compared to national guidelines to determine the suitability for recreation.

The national guidelines provide trigger levels that allow us to interpret the results by placing them into one of three categories:

Faecal indicator bacteria trigger levels for marine waters as specified by the national guidelines.

Trigger level 
(enterococci/100 mL)
Suitability for recreation
<140 Highly likely to be uncontaminated Suitable
140–280 Potentially contaminated Potentially unsuitable
>280 Highly likely to be contaminated Highly likely to be unsuitable 


Water quality at Waikato beaches is generally high but caution should be taken following heavy rain. Heavy rain flushes contaminants from urban and rural land into waterways, which then make their way to the coast. These contaminants may be present in the water for up to two days (48 hours) after heavy or prolonged rainfall.

We work together with district councils and the Waikato District Health Board to identify any results that may have public health implications and then provide the public with the best quality information.


Recreational water quality factsheet: Read more about our summer recreational water quality monitoring programme.


Click on a location below to see the latest results.