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Current condition of Muri Beach Lagoon

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Current condition of Muri Beach Lagoon

Hi,

I have heard that Muri Beach Lagoon can be polluted, can anyone tell me what the current condition is and is it safe to be swimming there?

Thanks

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Muri Beach Resort
Muri Beach Resort
319 Reviews
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
27 replies to this topic
Pacifica, CA
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1. Re: Current condition of Muri Beach Lagoon

Hi Meg, I'm not there right now (not till next week, 10th visit yeehaa) but it's not so much pollution as you would define it, it's more an overabundance of nutrients (phosphates and nitrates) that encourages growth of weeds. There are a lot of leaking septic tanks in the area, but the only times I've noticed a sewerage smell is after days of heavy rain. There is no reticulated treatment so the old leaking tanks (very slowly being replaced thanks to subsidies) leech into the lagoon. But the nutrients are mainly from laundry detergents as far as I'm aware. I personally have no problem swimming anywhere in Rarotonga, except after heavy rains when I'll give it a day or two to clear. The weed in Muri is really unsightly at times though, mainly on the high tide when the flow north to Avana is peaking. It stretches from Ta'akoka to Avana Passage but you can always find clear water somewhere if you have wheels, try the south coast - miles of empty beaches with clear water if Muri is no good.

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Rarotonga
Rarotonga
Southern Cook Islands, Cook Islands
Muri
Muri
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Rarotonga, Cook...
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2. Re: Current condition of Muri Beach Lagoon

Kia Orana Meg, welcome to the Cook Islands forum.

The current state of Muri lagoon is much improved from 3 months ago even. Early June the lagoon appeared mostly clear of algae. Having received a buffeting from very strong winds and big sea swells over the past month, the lagoon is looking even better. Little algae remains that is visible from shore.

Although it is not swimming weather currently, I have seen people in the lagoon under the protection of the motu, away from the cold and strong breezes. Excellent for kite-surfing, not good for paddling, kayaking, or snorkelling in the high winds.

Anything to do with Muri lagoon polarises people in their opinions. It would be great alyinsanfran, if you won't mind posting an update when you return, but also a review of Muri lagoon on TA - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Revie…

Kia manuia.

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Cook Islands
Cook Islands
South Pacific
Muri Lagoon
Muri Lagoon
738 Reviews
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
nz
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for Norfolk Island, Noosaville, Rarotonga
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3. Re: Current condition of Muri Beach Lagoon

Hi Meg

There is, unfortunately, no doubt whatsoever that Muri Lagoon is polluted even though the algae seems to have disappeared for the moment which is great for aesthetic purposes. But the fact remains that around 80% of the commercial properties have septic tanks which are leaking into the lagoon. If you look at the link below you'll see that both the Nautilus and Muri Beach Resorts were threatened with closure.

Now that the lagoon is looking clear, however, many people are not asking questions and are happily swimming in the lagoon - either because they don't know or don't care about the problems.

Let's put it this way - if there wasn't a problem then there wouldn't be plans to spend millions of dollars solving the wastewater problems in the Muri/Avana areas.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/ShowTopic-g294…

Obviously it is up to individuals to decide if they want to swim in Muri. But knowing that it is polluted (and there is no doubt about this) I wouldn't even consider it and I haven't been willing to do so for many years.

At least now the information is now in the public arena and action is being taken to research the problem and plan for solutions. But this will not happen overnight.

People can subscribe to be updated with information as the project progresses by using this email address and regular updates will be automatically sent

www.vaikitevai.com/subscribe

Edited: 05 September 2017, 10:37
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Muri Lagoon
Muri Lagoon
738 Reviews
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Muri Beach Resort
Muri Beach Resort
319 Reviews
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Muri
Muri
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Rarotonga, Cook...
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4. Re: Current condition of Muri Beach Lagoon

Something that needs to be mentioned is the fact that there is no water sampling for E-coli, which is a standard measure of water quality in NZ.

Nzlilibet is correct. There won't be any chance of a reticulated system for years to come. I was interviewed by the new project recently, and the results of this form of public consultation won't be known for a while yet. With so many visitors, our lagoons are becoming overloaded with nutrients, something our lagoons were never designed to cope with under traditional circumstances; when people lived inland well away from the shoreline.

If you have any doubts about water quality, dont swim in Muri or Titikaveka after heavy rains for 3 days, and go around to the cleaner lagoon areas in the SW and western sides of the island. Nikao and Black Rock beaches are looking wonderful today.

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Muri
Muri
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Titikaveka
Titikaveka
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
nz
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5. Re: Current condition of Muri Beach Lagoon

I would add to Frangipani's comments.

Scientists years ago advised against swimming near any stream outlets for 3 days after heavy rains and suggested that signs be put up warning against doing this. This was all round the island. This is in addition to the sewage leaking into the lagoon from resorts etc - this is agricultural run-off from the hills, including chemicals. Unfortunately this never happened.

Some years ago when I was here after heavy rains (and the streams became raging torrents) I actually rang the health department asking about warning people. They laughed at me and said that people would know not to swim. Well - they didn't. I spoke to a number of people at that time and asked if their resorts had advised them against swimming. Of course they hadn't had any warnings and were grateful when I suggested not swimming for a few days.

Muri can look wonderful with sparkling water when the sun is out and there is no algae present. But the sewage pollution is there and has been for many years while people were denying there was a problem. In fact the CI News was warning of problems years ago. A pity that authorities did not admit the problems way back instead of trying to ignore them.

Many of the new resorts would either have not been built or would have been forced to install septic tank systems equal to the job required of them. Maybe some should, in fact, be closed down pending a decent sewerage system or at least to take steps to alleviate seepage into the lagoon.

It will take time to install a decent system to deal with the problems. NZ has already pledged millions of dollars to fund this, but more may well be needed But it is of concern (to me at least) that the tourism authorities are still pressing for yet more tourists. Maybe the message hasn't yet got through.

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Muri
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6. Re: Current condition of Muri Beach Lagoon

Indeed the south and SE have both received a hammering in the past month from strong winds and high seas. An event that I was relieved to see, given that the state of the water quality needed that good flushing of its system.

I recall some years back that a capping on visitor numbers, as mooted at 100,000 per annum, was never adopted. Still with the winds and currents that Muri and Ttitikaveka has experienced over the past month is very good for the environment. Nature does have it's own way of dealing with problems.

Edited: 05 September 2017, 12:09
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Muri
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7. Re: Current condition of Muri Beach Lagoon

I don't think one should mess with Mother Nature or expect her to deal with all the problems created by we humans.

She has a habit of wreaking revenge if pushed too far. Something none of us should forget.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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8. Re: Current condition of Muri Beach Lagoon

Very true! We haven't had a cyclone on Rarotonga for some years now, but I'm prepared for this summer as it's on the cards that we are due for a good blow. One good reason why I don't live near the beachfront, given that my ancestors didn't do as well.

Over time I've seen the effects of a decent flushing of Muri, and bound to again during my lifetime. Meantime we suffer a drought, which is causing a water shortage around Raro. So need rainfall, sorry visitors!

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Rarotonga
Rarotonga
Southern Cook Islands, Cook Islands
Muri
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Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Pacifica, CA
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9. Re: Current condition of Muri Beach Lagoon

I've always been surprised at the lack of public water testing on the rock. I've volunteered for 12 years here in California, hiking once a week to several creek mouths and beaches to sample the water. It all goes to a council lab and results are posted online a couple of days later. It's shocking after the first rains the levels EColi and fecal coliforms peak at, sometimes 3 orders of magnitude over safe levels. It levels off quickly of course, with tidal flushing of 72 hours. Muri really is a major problem and we all need to let government know that they need to hold all the new resorts accountable and continue to subsidise locals in upgrading their old tanks. When you leave there's a questionnaire to fill out and I always say that water quality at Muri is number one. Having said that, I know what truly dodgy water is like - I'm a surfer and in the water here year round - and the only time I've seen proper poo water in Raro is right after long heavy rain when it pours down the creeks. So if that happens, wait 2 or 3 days and be careful of cuts. It's far from ideal but don't let it spoil your fun, just be smart.

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Muri
Muri
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Pacifica, CA
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10. Re: Current condition of Muri Beach Lagoon

Frangipani I'll be sure to post an update, thanks for the suggestion. Can't wait to get there, I'm sure the steak and cheese pies, lammingtons and Palmerston parrotfish and chips are already quivering in fear at the thought of our return.

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