Annual Lake Rotoiti drawdown achieved early
Wednesday, 17 June 2015 10:00 a.m.
Lake Rotoiti is now at its annual minimum level following Okere Gate operations to lower the lake by 100mm below normal operating levels.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council lowers the lake by 100mm each year as part of consent guidelines to help facilitate flushing of the Ōhau Channel and reduce flood risk in the channel.
Council Principal Engineering Surveyor Graeme O’Rourke says the drawdown has occurred two weeks earlier than planned this year because of favourable weather conditions and lower inflows from Lake Rotorua. “With recent rains and a very wet May, the drawdown was expected to take until July 1. Getting there two weeks early has been a surprise.”
The regional council plans to hold levels at or near the drawdown limit for the next few weeks (depending on weather) to facilitate surveys and monitoring and provide time for lake community feedback.
“We have 10-15 percent of each year (36-55 days) to achieve this drawdown,” Graeme says. “We’ll hold the levels as long as we can and then allow rain to fill the lake again naturally.
Advance notification of the drawdown was sent to the regional council’s lake user database, including rafting operators. The council continues to balance recreational rafting flows against lake levels via Okere Gate operations. “It is a fine balance between maintaining all consent protocols during the drawdown phase and minimising effects around the lake,” Graeme says.
He encourages anyone with any issues or observations around Lake Rotoiti to note the details and take photos for the record before contacting the council.