23 November 2021
A health warning has been issued today for Lake Rotorua and the western end of Lake Rotoiti. The health warning is based on water test results and satellite imagery provided by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council which indicate an extensive algal bloom throughout much of Lake Rotorua, particularly away from the shore.
Today’s health warning follows a health warning issued last week for Ohau Channel, the channel that links Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti.
“People should avoid any activity which results in contact with the water in Lake Rotorua, the western end of Lake Rotoiti, and Ohau Channel,” says Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health for Toi Te Ora Public Health.
Contact with water affected by blooms of blue-green algae can cause asthma and hayfever attacks in some individuals. Contact with the blue-green algae can also cause skin rashes, stomach upsets, and in some cases neurological effects such as tingling around the mouth, headaches, breathing difficulties and visual problems.
Signage will be erected at popular sites along the shores of both lakes advising potential lake users about the algal bloom.
As we head into summer, Dr Shoemack advises the public to keep an eye out for signs of algal blooms if using lakes in our region. “Algal blooms can develop rapidly and unpredictably and can sometimes produce toxins that are harmful for people as well as animals. If the water looks discoloured, has an unusual smell, or has green or brown particles floating in it then it is best to avoid contact with it.”
Up-to-date information on health warnings for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts is available through these channels: