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Ohau Channel Diversion Wall launched

MEDIA RELEASE

Ohau Channel Diversion Wall launched

For immediate release: 20 October 2008 A year-long construction project to help restore and protect Lake Rotoiti's water quality was officially launched by the Minister of Conservation and MP for Rotorua, the Honourable Steve Chadwick today.

The Ohau Channel Diversion Wall is located at the outlet of the Ohau Channel, which links Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti. It is 1275 metres long and diverts the water from Lake Rotorua, with its higher nutrient levels, directly down the Kaituna River, preventing it from degrading Lake Rotoiti's water quality.

The wall cost just under $10 million to build and was funded by Environment Bay of Plenty and Central Government. It is expected to improve Lake Rotoiti's water quality in less than five years, with the support of lakeside sewerage reticulation projects.

Environment Bay of Plenty Deputy Chairman Philip Sherry said the wall opening was an important milestone for the Rotorua Lakes Protection and Restoration Action Programme.

"It's been a huge effort from everyone involved in the project. The benefits that the wall will bring, for both the environment and for the long-term health of the region's economy, are great," Mr Sherry said.

"We really appreciate the Government's support for the project, and look forward to continuing support from Central Government to help clean up the other Rotorua lakes."

Mr Sherry said the wall was part of a number of initiatives being used to help protect and restore the lakes - from structural interventions like the wall through to land use management practices to reduce nutrients leaching from farm land.

The effect of the wall is now being closely monitored to assess its success and whether wildlife is adversely affected by it or not, including a five-year fisheries monitoring programme.

Buoys and lights mark the wall and safe navigation areas around it to ensure that people using the channel and lake can do so safely.

ENDS

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