Bay of Plenty lake water quality data now available
Monday, 28 September 2015 10:00 a.m.
Monitoring information collected by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council on lake quality is now available on the Land, Air, Water, Aotearoa (LAWA) website. Users can now access water quality and ecological condition data for monitored lakes and read the latest news about efforts to maintain and protect the water.
“The lakes are important to the region’s communities and we hope publishing this data on LAWA will help grow awareness of the need to protect them,” Council science manager Rob Donald says.
Council takes its role as guardian of the Bay of Plenty’s lakes seriously, working with local communities and central government to improve water quality where it is compromised. It also works hard to reduce the impact nutrients have on freshwater.
“Lake quality is directly impacted by the way the surrounding land is used,” Rob says. “Lakes are sensitive to high levels of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which can cause excessive weed growth and algal blooms.”
One of the main indicators LAWA uses to describe a lake’s quality is the Trophic Level Index (TLI). This is based on water clarity, algae content, total phosphorus and total nitrogen. “The more nutrients in the water, the higher the TLI score. A higher TLI score typically means poorer water quality,” Rob says.
Of the 12 Rotorua Te Arawa lakes, four are classed as good or very good. Five are classed as average and three are classed as having poor or very poor water quality.
The LAWA website – www.lawa.org.nz – means people can get information about the quality and availability of New Zealand’s natural resources online. Launched in 2014, it displays data on river and lake quality, swimming and real-time flow, rainfall and groundwater data. It’s believed to be one of the first websites of its kind to bring national water quality and quantity data together in one place.
LAWA also features the state and trend of more than 1000 river sites around the country and shows how much water is available and how it is being used.
More data about the quality of New Zealand’s lakes will be added in the next few months, followed by air quality monitoring information.