17 July 2023
Unprecedented rainfall this year has caused flooding and rising lake levels at Rotomā and Rotoehu.
Data shows the lake levels for Rotomā and Rotoehu are the highest since 1972 and are approaching records set in 1971.
This has impacted residents and resulted in flooding of roads and slips around certain areas of both lakes.
The situation has caused flooding of areas at Rotomā (Manawahe, camp ground in particular) and reserves and some properties at Rotoehu and raised the risk of other properties also being flooded. It has impeded access to properties (including due to flooding of the Rotorua end of Manawahe Road).
It has also resulted in infrastructure like jetties and ramps becoming submerged or floating and navigation aids have moved, creating hazards in/on the water.
Unlike other lakes, there are no river outlets in lakes Rotomā or Rotoehu and no outlet infrastructure in place.
There is a natural surface outlet from Rotomā into Rotoehu where water from the former would overflow into Rotoehu.
This has not happened in recorded history but is a possibility and this would cause flooding of land and dwellings at Rotoehu and potentially cut off access via Manawahe Road.
Longer term solutions will need to be considered but the immediate focus is on providing any assistance residents may require with people’s safety the primary concern.
The situation is being closely monitored and those who require assistance are being put in touch with Rotorua Lakes Council via an Incident Management Team set up to provide a single port of call for support for residents.
The Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme partners, Toi Moana (Bay of Plenty Regional Council), Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust) are collaborating to provide any immediate assistance they can, alongside the Rotorua Lakes Community Board which is assisting with and facilitating community engagement and communications.
Waka Kotahi, local iwi and Whakatane District Council are also involved in providing support.
Residents who need assistance or have concerns or questions should call Rotorua Lakes Council on 07 348 4199.