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Lake sensor fault fixed

Lake sensor fault fixed

For immediate release: Thursday 10 April, 2008

Environment Bay of Plenty has found and corrected a technical fault with a water level sensor in Lake Rotoiti.

The sensor was transmitting lake level rises while the level of the lake was falling, after it was upgraded on March 12.

Ken Tarboton, Group Manager Rivers and Drainage says Environment Bay of Plenty operates Lake Rotoiti’s levels within a set range, and the fault left the lake 50mm below the target operating range, but still within the minimum value specified in the resource consent.

“Because the inflows to Lake Rotoiti from Lake Rotorua were already low, it wasn’t immediately obvious that something was amiss. It wasn’t until about three weeks later that it was discovered. However we were able to get staff onto the problem immediately and the sensor was fixed within three hours of knowing there was a problem.”

To stabilise lake levels the outflow gates at Okere Falls were closed to their minimum allowable settings on Friday 4 April. The regional council is now continuing to monitor the lake levels, which have since stabilised.

“While low, the lake’s water level is still within allowable levels, although it is just outside the range that we aim for,” he says.

“We’re also working closely with rafting companies that rely on the flow in the river for their business. Controlled releases from the gates that allow lake water to run to the Kaituna River for a few hours a day will be made on weekdays starting tomorrow (Friday) to ensure that rafters can still operate. Lake levels will continue to be closely monitored.”

The level of the lake is unlikely to rise until there has been significant rainfall in the two lakes’ catchments.

Mr Tarboton said it highlighted how closely the regional council has had to manage the lake’s levels, particularly in the current low rainfall situation.

“I encourage all river and lake users to begin thinking about how the levels are managed. The resource consent for operation of the Okere Gates controlling the lake levels comes up for renewal in 2010, and this will go to public consultation. It will be your chance to have a say on how the lake levels are managed in the future.”


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