Enjoying waterways safely this swimming season

When planning your next trip to the beach, creek, or river, there are a few simple tips you can follow to make sure you and your family stay healthy and safe while enjoying local waterways.

South East Queensland’s waterways are known for being clean, safe, and beautiful. Swimming season is around the corner and there are some important factors to consider when using any waterway.

It is a little-known fact that certain conditions can pose a potential health risk. While the dangers of rips are quite well-known, less well-known are the risks associated with waterway pollution, which can lead to illness including gastrointestinal and eye infections.

Some top tips to stay safe and healthy include:

  • Looking out for signs of pollution such as discoloured or strong-smelling water and debris.
  • Avoiding swimming near stormwater drains and floodwaters.
  • Adhering to signs and warnings.
  • Avoiding entering waterways for a few days after heavy rainfall events.

It is important to keep in mind that during heavy rainfall events, sewers can potentially overflow into stormwater pipes and subsequently into our waterways. When stormwater makes its way into waterways, it can carry disease-causing microorganisms such as litter, leaves, oil, and in some cases sewage.

It is recommended you avoid entering waterways while it’s raining, avoid entering open waterways and beaches for at least one day after a rainfall event, and avoid entering estuarine areas such as creeks, lakes, and rivers for at least three days after a rainfall event.

Another easy way to ensure your health and wellbeing is to look out for indicators of pollution before entering waterways. This includes discoloured or strong-smelling water and floating litter, scum, or debris.

It’s up to you to stay safe. Always look for posted warning signs and follow the advice provided.

Taking a quick moment to assess water quality before enjoying waterway recreation time can help you and your loved ones make informed decisions about where and when to use waterways for recreation.

Information and tools have been developed by Healthy Land and Water to assist managers such a local government and local councils assess the recreation suitability of waterways across South East Queensland. These resources align with the national guidelines and are endorsed by Healthy Land and Water members and the Human Health Scientific Expert Panel.

Please visit the Healthy Waterplay webpage for more information.


Healthy Land and Water’s Healthy Waterplay initiative is a collaboration supported by the Queensland Government, local councils, water utilities, universities, and other relevant organisations

Popular Stories

SEQ Rainfall and Flooding 2022 Recovery Grants - More time to apply!

Explore News
  The deadline to apply for an Extraordinary Disaster Assistance Recovery Grant (EDARG) has been extended to 10 March 2023!  Up to $75,000 is available for primary producers and $50,000…

Healthy Land and Water 2018: A year in review

Explore News
2018 HAS been a momentous 12 months for Healthy Land and Water; a year filled with success and progress as we continue our mission to improve and protect South East Queensland's…

New $25,000 litter program launched in Caboolture River

Explore News
A car tyre, election signs, chairs, fishing equipment, eskies and three large bags of rubbish were plucked from the Caboolture River during day one of a new waterway litter removal…

Get in touch

Healthy Land and Water is dedicated to the care of our unique and beautiful land, waterways and biodiversity.

  • Address: Level 19, 160 Ann Street Brisbane QLD 4000
  • PO Box: 13204, George Street Brisbane QLD 4003
  • Phone: (07) 3177 9100
  • Fax: (07) 3177 9190
  • Email: info@hlw.org.au

We won't ever sell or rent your information. Read our Privacy Policy.
© Healthy Land and Water 2023