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Seven More Lakes Under Scrutiny

MEDIA RELEASE
Seven More Lakes Under Scrutiny
Friday 16 September 2005

Seven more Rotorua lakes are being reviewed to see if they need help to improve water quality.

Environment Bay of Plenty, Rotorua District Council and Te Arawa Maori Trust Board are already working together to save five degraded lakes in the Rotorua district, including Lake Rotoiti.

Now Environment Bay of Plenty is carrying out water quality risk assessments on seven other lakes, Rotoma, Okataina, Tarawera, Tikitapu, Rotokakahi, Rotomahana and Rerewhakaaitu. Group manager regulation and resource management Paul Dell says these lakes generally have good water quality. Some actions are already being taken to protect them, such as planned sewage reticulation and riparian protection works. “However we think it is timely to start working on action plans for these lakes to protect their long-term water quality,” he explains. “We appreciate that people are concerned we are ignoring the higher quality lakes, but this is not the case.”

Staff aim to complete the scientific analysis for the project by the end of November. They will prioritise the lakes for formal Action Plans and work out what urgent actions or further research may be needed for them. Mr Dell says the results will then be shown to the community and sector groups for consideration. “The feedback from members of the communities living around these lakes is very important and will influence the way the priority list is made up,” he explains.

Mr Dell says that work will begin early next year on the development of action plans for the high-priority lakes. Draft Action Plans are drawn up by working parties with representatives from the community, sector groups and relevant organisations. These groups look at the water quality issues and risks facing their own lakes and come up with solutions to improve or maintain good water quality over the long-term. Their proposals are then discussed with the general community.

“We have used this process to develop Action Plans for the other lakes, and it has worked extremely well,” Mr Dell says.

Mr Dell says Environment Bay of Plenty has been “keeping a close eye” on the seven lakes through regular water quality monitoring. Some lakes will be boosted by planned sewerage reticulation while others are the subject of trials on nutrient-reducing products and methods. The lakes have upgraded requirements for septic tanks, weed spread prevention, and a number of riparian protection works. All these lakes will eventually have an action plan to protect and if necessary restore their lake water quality to the water quality targets set by the community and recorded in the proposed Regional Water and Land Plan.

ENDS

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