When did you last dip into the coolness of the Patea or another local river? I love cooling down in the long-time favoured swimming holes in the Patea and the Waingongoro on hot summer days (though last summer was really not hot enough), so it is with some trepidation that I read Ministry of Environment reports showing these two rivers have poor water quality.

According to the reports, there is a risk of illness for anyone swimming there.

If there is danger that our children and the odd adult will become sick swimming in our rivers, it should be addressed and the polluters billed.

But just assuming it to be the case due to the rivers flowing through farmland, however, is unfair to our farmers.


Most Taranaki farmers have been working hard to protect waterways on their farms. Certainly more can always be done, but so can the townspeople with rain washing all kinds of contaminants from roofs, driveways and roads into water run-offs.

Keep an eye on the Taranaki Regional Council's website which is regularly updated with the water quality status.

In the end, all of us are the custodians.