Locals praised for Lake Okareka progress
Friday, 1 July 2011 8:00 a.m.
Nutrient reduction targets look likely to have been met to improve water quality in Lake Ōkāreka, thanks to valuable input from the local community, last week's Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group meeting heard.
The Lake Ōkāreka Catchment Management Action Plan was adopted in 2004, the first of the Rotorua lake Action Plans to be developed. It recommended actions to reduce nutrients, including sewage reticulation, wetland establishment, land use and land management changes and engineering actions.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman John Cronin said the achievement was a significant milestone in the clean up of Rotorua's Lakes.
"Monitoring on progress towards nitrogen targets shows that the Action Plan nutrient targets of 2500 kg of nitrogen per year has now been met, and further monitoring of sediment detention dams may get the additional 30kg of phosphorus required to reach the target of 80 kg of phosphorus per year. This will need close monitoring, but it is likely that the nutrient target has been met," he said.
Group Chairman and Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters said the nitrogen target had been reached with only 122 ha of land use change - less than the 200h target set in the Deed of funding agreement. Given that the nitrogen target had been reached, the Group decided to monitor the impacts of actions and review in 12 months before pursuing any further land use change.
"Since adopting the Action Plan significant progress has been made towards achieving the nitrogen and phosphorus targets. The progress is due in large part to the significant funding secured through agreement with the Crown. This allocated $10.7 million dollars towards sewage reticulation ($9.7 million) and land use change ($1 million)," Mr Winters said.
"The majority of this target has been reached through sewerage reticulation, which achieved a 1.9 tonne reduction in nitrogen."
Group Deputy Chair and Te Arawa Lakes Trust Chairman Dr Toby Curtis said the Lake Ōkāreka Management Action Plan had delivered what it set out to achieve.
"It is an example of the strategic partners, science experts and local community working well together."
The Group noted the significant financial costs borne by the Ōkāreka community in putting in the sewerage system, the most significant contributor to achieving the nutrient reduction target.
The current budget sets aside $1 million to achieve land use change in the Ōkāreka Catchment. Half of this is funded through the Deed of funding agreement, and to date nearly 50 percent of the budget has been spent.
In later years of the programme, if water quality targets were met in this lake the surplus $500,000 could be spent on other interventions in other lakes, the Group said.
For further media information please contactWarwick Murray, Group Manager Land Management on 0800 884 880, or Linda Thompson, Senior Communications Advisor, on direct dial 0800 884 881 ext 8149 or (021) 923 339.