We all want Otago’s streams, rivers and lakes to have good enough water quality for swimming, gathering food, and to support healthy ecosystems.

We're working with communities around Otago to ensure that our waterways are improving, for our own use and for our future.

Can I swim here?

Every summer from 1 December until 31 March, ORC monitors popular swimming spots around Otago every week to check that the water quality is safe enough for swimming.

Visit LAWA – Can I swim here? to find information on your favourite swimming spot.

Here are some tips for safe swimming:

  • Avoid swimming for at least 2-3 days after heavy or prolonged rain, even for sites that have good water quality.
  • If you can’t see your toes in calf-deep water, it is best to wait until the water clears before taking a dip.

Our swimming targets

We’ve set targets for 90% of rivers and 98% of lakes in Otago to be safe for swimming by 2030, and 95% and 100% of lakes to be safe for swimming by 2040. Find out more here.