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Lake Ruataniwha’s ‘poo in a loo’ campaign returns

Fun days like this on Lake Ruataniwha could be in danger if people pollute the water during the summer holiday season, Environment Canterbury has warned. (File photo)

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Fun days like this on Lake Ruataniwha could be in danger if people pollute the water during the summer holiday season, Environment Canterbury has warned. (File photo)

Boaties and kayakers are being urged to ‘poo in a loo’ before enjoying recreational water areas like Lake Ruataniwha this summer.

Environment Canterbury is pushing its ‘One Poo Can Close a Lake’ campaign again this summer, as it endeavours to remind people heading to lakes over summer to use the public toilets provided, especially around Lake Ruataniwha, near Twizel.

ECan says it only takes a single poo to pollute a swimming bay.

The One Poo Can Close a Lake campaign which kicked off at Lake Ruataniwha over the 2020/21 summer with a focus on swimmers, campers and dog-walkers was deemed a success with no incidents of high level E coli contamination recorded.

READ MORE:
* Lake Ruataniwha celebrates an e.coli incident free summer
* Toilet education campaign at Lake Ruataniwha
* Health warning issued for Lake Ruataniwha

The campaign has been extended for the 2021/22 to include clear messaging for boat owners and kayakers as well, with its ‘Boating About? Don’t Get Caught Out’ posters, signage at boat ramps and additional toilets.

ECan’s surface water science team leader Shirley Hayward said it is vital boaties utilise the toilets on hand.

“We’re encouraging boaties to travel to the toilets when they need to go. There are none on the south side of Lake Ruataniwha, so they will need to plan ahead.”

Hayward also warns some parts of the lake can be quite shallow and warm – increasing the risk of any discharge having an impact.

Recreational users are being reminded to plan ahead and use toilets provided to avoid contamination of Lake Ruataniwha this summer.

ECan/Supplied

Recreational users are being reminded to plan ahead and use toilets provided to avoid contamination of Lake Ruataniwha this summer.

“Some bays where boaties may pull up to can be quite sensitive to waste material.

“If water quality readings show these spots have become contaminated, it may mean we have to close the area for a period of time.”

ECan said the main swimming area at Lake Ruataniwha was closed due to high bacteria levels for a few days over the peak holiday period in 2019.

“The recreational water quality grade of Lake Ruataniwha has improved over the past couple of years and is now classed as very good,” ECan’s website says.

Hayward said because there haven’t been any recent significant E coli high concentration events Lake Ruataniwha, it doesn’t mean the problem is solved.

“There’s still a risk and that’s why it’s so important lake users understand their responsibilities,” she said.

ECan says bacteria and other pathogens from poo can make swimmers very sick and affect mahinga kai/food gathering and the māuri (life force) of the water.

“If the amount of bacteria reaches the level for health warning, the recreation area may be closed, which can affect thousands of holidaymakers,” the regional council says.

Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee chair Simon Cameron is pleased to see the campaign in place again.

“It serves as an important reminder to the community and visitors about what is expected of them when they visit our lakes,” he said.



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