We need to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus entering Lake Rotorua, so we’ve set up an integrated framework to achieve a sustainable nitrogen limit of 435 tonnes per year.
While the Bay of Plenty Regional Council is responsible for managing water quality in the region, the community actually set the water quality target for Lake Rotorua (based on how great the water was back in the 1960s). In 2010, a nitrogen limit was set for Lake Rotorua, allowing only 435 tonnes of nitrogen to go into the lake each year. If we all work together to stick to this limit, research suggests we’ll be able to achieve the community’s water quality target – which means our precious lake will be safe and sound for years to come.
To hit this target, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council is working with landowners to ensure land use activities fall within a new set of rules and guidelines.
Here’s a brief summary of what’s in place:
Even if all landowners voluntarily adopt good practice, the only way we can reach our goals is through rules limiting nitrogen loss from pastoral land (which are known as the Lake Rotorua Nutrient Management Rules, or Plan Change 10).
Gorse leaches around 38 kilograms per hectare of nitrogen into the soil, so we’re working with landowners to help them remove gorse from their properties.
A $40 million incentive fund has been established to permanently remove 100 tonnes of nitrogen from entering Lake Rotorua (we have until 2022 to achieve this target). The remaining tonnes of nitrogen will need to come from engineered solutions.