Lower river flows due to dry weather
Friday, 7 March 2014 4:00 p.m.
Low water levels in Lake Rotoiti mean that the Bay of Plenty Regional Council is now operating the Okere Gates at a lower flow but maintaining a ‘rafting window’ of higher flows during the middle of the day.
Lake Rotoiti is currently 50mm below its main operating range, with lower flow rates through the Ōhau Channel from Lake Rotorua.
Flows into the Kaituna River are carefully controlled under very strict consent conditions by the operation of the Okere Gates. The Gates has been operating at near minimum flow rates since the start of January. At the beginning of March, rafting operators on the Kaituna were informed that, in order to best maintain lake levels, the Okere Gates would be closed down to reduced flows.
The gates will now maintain a low flow rate into the Kaituna River but a four-hour ‘rafting window’ with higher flow rates will operate between 10am and 2pm each day.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Principal Engineering Surveyor, Graeme O’Rourke, said that the Council would closely monitor the effects of this window on lake levels to ensure the higher flows are sustainable.
“It is a careful balance between lake levels and river flows. The situation isn’t helped by the long range weather forecast which isn’t promising any significant rain any time soon to ease the situation. So we will continue to watch the situation very closely,” Mr O’Rourke said.