A plan to restore water quality in Lake Tarawera has just been released for public input.
The Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme has released the draft Tarawera Lakes Restoration Plan and is seeking input from the community.
The Plan outlines the key challenges and proposes actions to be taken to achieve long-term sustainable water quality for the lake. Bay of Plenty Regional Council General Manager Environmental Delivery Warwick Murray encouraged people to have their say on the Plan.
“Lake Tarawera is one of our most pristine lakes, enjoyed by the Tarawera residents, local iwi, tourists and wider community, but water quality is declining,” he said.
Water quality is measured using the Trophic Level Index (TLI), a number used to indicate the health of lakes in New Zealand calculated using total nitrogen, total phosphorous, water clarity and chlorophyll-a. For 2013/2014, Lake Tarawera had a TLI of 3.0, 0.4 units above its community-agreed water quality target of 2.6.
The main cause of declining water quality is an increase in nitrogen and phosphorous flowing into the lake from the catchment. The restoration plan identifies what actions are needed to reduce the amount of nutrients, including sewage reticulation, managing land use in the Tarawera and neighbouring lake catchments and controlling nitrogen-fixing plants such as silver wattle.
“Restoring Lake Tarawera is a unique and complex task, as it relies on the health of seven neighbouring lakes - Ōkāreka, Ōkataina, Rotokakahi, Rotomahana, Tikitapu, Rerewhakaaitu and Ōkaro - which drain into Lake Tarawera. It is important that the affected communities for these lakes, as well as people living in Rotorua, get involved in to how we go about remedying the situation,” Murray said.
Feedback on the draft Plan is open until 20 June. Copies of the draft Tarawera Lakes Restoration Plan is available online at www.rotorualakes.co.nz, from Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust offices, or by calling 0800 884 880.