21 June 2019

In contrast to autumn 2017, autumn 2019 has been a relatively dry period and lake levels have been maintained within the normal operational range.

However, Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff have not been resting on this matter and it may seem to lakeside residents things have quietened down, our staff have continued to take a raft of actions to prepare for possible high lake levels and the need to allow high flows from the lake in the future.

The following is a brief update of current activity: 

  1. The emergency consent that was applied for as a result of the 2017 flooding has now been granted. This is a necessary part of the actions that we took at that time including releasing higher lake outlet flows and protection works to look after the bed of the Waitangi Stream to Lake Tarawera. This consent now allows BOPRC to manage higher flows for a period of two years from March 2019, while we apply for longer-term consent and potentially get approval for managing the higher flows permanently.
  2. The emergency consent also allows for the installation of the permanent stream protection works downstream of Spencer Road. The first stage of this major project is nearly completed and the second stage will be completed during the next 12 months. This is a significant investment in the protection of the stream and ecological habitat. The works have had to overcome a number of challenges, including avoiding works that affect the trout spawning habitat as well as access via private land. The BOPRC is highly grateful to the local Tarawera residents who have suffered the inconvenience of the protection works during construction.
  3. The application for the long term consent has been filed with BOPRC regulatory staff. We are now awaiting feedback on the processing and conditions of consent.
  4. Below is a graph of the lake level since February 2017. It can be seen that we finally got the lake back into its normal operating range in February 2019, 2 years after the initial event.
  5. Any work required to upgrade the outlet pipe to allow great gravity flow to be released from the lake is dependent on the outcome of the resource consent application. We will keep you informed of progress.