Dog dies from toxic Tukituki river

A dog has died after coming in contact with toxic Tukituki Rover water.

A pet dog has died in a suspected case of cyanobacterial poisoning at the Tukituki River.

In a statement this afternoon, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council said staff were told the dog was at Tukituki River’s Horseshoe Bend off Kahuranaki Road and HBRC environmental science staff are investigating.

“We were saddened to hear of the death of the dog, and our thoughts are with the family who will be missing their pet,” says HBRC Interim Chief Executive, Liz Lambert.

“It is a sad consequence of the warm summer weather when there is always a high likelihood of algal blooms in Hawke’s Bay rivers. Our river areas are popular places to exercise dogs and so we recommend that owners be extra cautious in summer. Keep your dogs under control, perhaps on a retractable leash, and take your own supply of fresh water for them to drink. We want to avoid having any more pets suffer.”

The Council and the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board have issued a warning about the risks of toxic algae in summer.

The Council is also promoting a dam and a plan that will increase the level of toxic nutrients in the Tukituki River which would make this sort of occurence rather more normal.

In the height of summer, toxic blue-green algae ‘mats’ dry out at the side of rivers as the water flows reduce. The toxin forming blue-green algae naturally occur in all rivers, stream and lakes. The warm summer weather coupled with low river flows increases blue-green algal growth, often making water unsafe for swimming and forming the mats.

Not all algae is toxic but blue-green algae, known as cyanobacteria, can be, even when dry.

These mats should not be touched, and people should avoid swimming where mats are present. The mats can vary in colour from brown/black when in the water to a pale brown/whitish colour when dry, and are identifiable by a strong musty smell which dogs will naturally want to investigate.

The Council’s Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme allows the council to increase headroom for nitrogen and phosphorus, thereby increasing nutrients that feed toxic blue-green algae.

They will of course point to their plan which says it will allow increased water flows in summer, but that would be increased water flows with increased toxic nutrients.

Meanwhile the Council continues to give a free pass to the sewage outflows from Waipukurau and Waipawa which are already causing the Tukituki River to exceed nutrient limits.

What if the next victim of the toxic Tukituki is a small child? Will the Council do something then?

 

-HB Today


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