WAI Quality - Water Accessibility Index for swimming in Canterbury

Cantabrians are passionate about their environment and outdoor activities. Hot summer days often involve a trip to the local swimming hole or beach. Currently, there is no clear way of determining the access of areas to swimmable water resources. Often the only easily retrievable information comes with a signpost at the destination, or there may not be anything at all. This poses implications around public health.

We have built a spatial application to easily visualize an area’s access to swimmable water sources. Users can simply enter their origin location and be routed to the nearest water body of suitable quality. Information is provided about the distance and quality of the routed water source with the addition of an accessibility index and population statistics. The outcome of the tool is that it empowers citizens by helping them to make informed decisions about their outdoor leisure activities.

Data usage:

A Statistics NZ meshblock dataset for Canterbury was retrieved from Koordinates to be displayed visually on the map - this is to highlight origin areas that are referred to in the side panel information. Census data was retrieved from Statistics NZ, with population data extracted to be visualized when meshblocks are selected. Ecan water quality grades at water bodies were extracted from Canterbury Maps, this was reused both for the destination locations and to contribute to the rating of rivers (a function of distance and grade).

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