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Health Warning – Health warning removed for algal bloom in the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River at Whitecliffs Domain and Whitecliffs Road

Friday 5 March 2021Media release2 minutes to read

THIS IS AN ARCHIVED PAGE. The advice and information contained in this page may not be current and it should only be used for historical reference purposes.
Health warning removed for algal bloom at Lake Pegasus

Health warning removed for algal bloom in the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River at Whitecliffs Domain and Whitecliffs Road

Canterbury DHB’s Community and Public Health unit has lifted its algal bloom health warning issued for the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River at Whitecliffs Domain and Whitecliffs Road.

Recent cyanobacteria surveys of the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River have shown the cover of potentially toxic algae (benthic cyanobacteria) at this location has reduced and is now below levels that are of concern to public health.

Please note that there are currently still warnings in place for the Selwyn River at Glentunnel and Coes Ford.

Facts about cyanobacteria:

  • Appears as dark brown/black mats attached to rocks along the riverbed.
  • A low cover of the algae can occur naturally but can increase rapidly during warmer months. Algal blooms are influenced by a combination of available nutrients in the water and sediments (such as nitrogen and phosphorus), a sustained period of low and stable flows, and favourable weather conditions (e.g. increased temperature, calm days).
  • It often has a strong musty smell and algal toxin concentrations can vary over short periods.
  • Although high river levels will remove the algal bloom, detached mats can accumulate along the shore and increase the risk of exposure to toxins.
  • If a health warning is in place avoid contact with the water.
  • Although district or city councils may place warning signs, these may not be seen at the numerous river access points, hence the need for people/ dog-walkers to treat every low-flowing river cautiously.

For further information visit:

Or contact Community and Public Health on (03) 364 1777:

For more information about Mahinga Kai:



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Page last updated: 19 August 2021

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