Swimming advisory for Rotary Beach

September 8, 2023

News Release

A swimming advisory has been issued for Rotary Beach in Rotary Beach Park. The beach is not closed, but swimming advisory signs have been posted so that the public can make an informed choice based on latest beach water quality readings. 

Other Kelowna beaches are not under advisory and are safe for swimming at this time.

The very young, older adults and people with weakened immunity are the most susceptible to infection related to bacterial counts in the water. When E. coli reaches 200 units per 100 millilitre sample, it’s expected that one per cent of bathers may develop gastrointestinal (stomach) illness if these bacteria are ingested. Eye, ear and throat symptoms, as well as skin rashes (not swimmer’s itch), can occur more frequently. 

“We’re seeing a greater amount of plant material in that part of Okanagan Lake as well as a higher population of ducks and geese, which can result in higher bacterial counts. We are asking the public not to swim or engage in water-related recreation activities at Rotary Beach until the beach water quality advisory has been lifted,” says Blair Stewart, Parks Services Manager. “Most people would be fine, but there is that one per cent who could become ill.”

A swimming advisory is a notice to swimmers that bacterial levels are currently higher than those allowed in the Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality. The maximum allowable number of E. coli bacteria in recreational water is 200 per 100-millilitre sample. 

Beach water quality can fluctuate due to a number of different factors, including currents, runoff, creek outflows, waterfowl and animal waste. The City of Kelowna and Interior Health sample water quality at higher-risk beaches, with no fewer than five samples in a 30-day period.

When a swimming advisory is in place, signs will be posted at the affected beach. Once testing shows bacteria levels have returned to acceptable levels, the advisory will be lifted. 

While there is an advisory at Rotary Beach, the City has several other designated swimming beaches for residents and visitors to enjoy. A map of all Kelowna beaches is available at kelowna.ca/parks.

For more information, visit kelowna.ca/parks or call the swimming advisory hotline at 250-469-8455.