We are currently consulting on a long term resource consent application to increase the water discharge rate from Lake Okareka  so that lakeside properties can be better protected from flooding.

Regional Council is applying for resource consent to:

  • increase the water discharge rate from Lake Okareka to a maximum of 500 Litres/second by increasing the flow through the existing pipe system and add a second pipe and pump or replacing both with a single pipe at a later date.
  • undertake short term and long term stream protection works in the Waitangi Stream.

In 2001 RC 60776 was issued to allowed for the discharge of water from Lake Okareka via a controlled outlet at a rate of up to 239L/s.  A series of significant rainfall events beginning in February 2017 lead to a rapid increase in lake level.  These events and subsequent modelling showed that the existing pipe configuration and consent discharge limit of 239L/s was unlikely to have the capacity to discharge the water volumes resulting from large and more numerous rainfall events, particularly when considering the additional effects of climate change.

The 2017 events lead to flooding of the lakeside margins and damage to lakeside paths and structures and risk to dwellings.  Without intervention to increase the discharge flow the lake level would have continued to increase and it is highly likely that it would have resulted in damage to property.

In June 2017 Bay of Plenty Regional Council invoked s330 (Emergency Works) of the Resource Management Act to increase the discharge from Lake Okareka to 360 L/s through the existing pipe and to add a second pipe and pump to give a total discharge rate of up to 500L/s and to undertake stream protection works to prevent erosion caused by the increased flow.  This resource consent is currently in place alongside consent 60776.

This consent application is to formalise the provisions in the emergency works consent into a long term resource consent.  It is proposed that the emergency works consent and consent60776 will remain in place until this long term consent is granted.

Consent application documents

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PROJECT CREATED

04 Aug 2017

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Project Updates

6 months ago

Ensuring no excessive pressure put on Waitangi Stream

Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff continues to monitor the water levels at Lake Ōkāreka and the quantity of water flowing down the Waitangi Stream.

Ensuring no excessive pressure put on Waitangi Stream

Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff continues to monitor the water levels at Lake Ōkāreka and the quantity of water flowing down the Waitangi Stream.

As of today, the Lake Ōkāreka water level is still sitting within 185mm of the target range maximum.

Council staff have been able to maintain this level since May through discharging 360L/s water under the emergency consent.

Staff have maintained this moderate flow to ensure that no excessive pressure has been put on the Waitangi Stream through this time.

Last month a working party meeting was held with various parties from Lake Ōkāreka, Lake Tarawera and local iwi.

As an outcome of the meeting, a draft resource consent application is being prepared to allow a higher flow to be discharged down the Waitangi Stream while it is expected that the permanent protection works for the Waitangi Stream will be authorised by the emergency consent.

The protection work would involve engineering rock design areas of the stream with the highest risk of erosion.

Geotechnical investigations have revealed risk areas of the stream bank in some locations. The investigations have shown that there was the risk of stream bank failure without additional flows down the stream. The need to discharge increased flows during 2017 initiated the geotechnical investigations that identified this risk.

For more information, please contact Ruth Keber at The Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme on info@rotorualakes.co.nz. 

Jetty at Lake Okareka.
9 months ago

Emergency works at lower Lake Ōkāreka

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is about to invoke the emergency works provisions of the Resource Management Act to address rising lake levels around the Rotorua region going into winter.

Emergency works at lower Lake Ōkāreka

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is about to invoke the emergency works provisions of the Resource Management Act to address rising lake levels around the Rotorua region going into winter.

Council is taking this action before the winter months for two reasons.

The Lake Ōkāreka water level is already high and exceeds the target range now by more than 200mm after recent weather events.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Lakes Operation Manager Andy Bruere said it was difficult to predict what risk to homes and infrastructure there was over winter.

"It is expected that lake levels will keep rising and if Council undertakes to discharge a higher flow rate now, it is likely that we can address the risk of high lake levels while discharging a lower flow in the Waitangi Stream."

This would have the impact of reducing potential damage to the stream through the winter, he said.

The second reason was if lake levels continued to rise, as Council expected during winter, and homes were at risk of flooding then Bay of Plenty Regional Council would have limited ability to respond in a meaningful way.

"Our ability to lower the lake is restricted by the outlet pipeline and the auxiliary pump that we installed last year," Mr Bruere said.

"In effect, a major storm event can raise the lake level up to 250mm in a single day where our ability to lower the lake is limited to less than 10mm per day."

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is required to obtain consent for the ongoing emergency works. Work will begin today.

In addition, Council is working with the communities around Lake Ōkāreka and Lake Tarawera to find a long-term solution to this problem. This work will be ongoing.

Emergency works at lower Lake Ōkāreka
about 2 years ago

Images taken at Acacia Bay Reserve

Check out images taken of Lake Ōkāreka water levels at Acacia Bay Reserve on 13 November 2017.

Images taken at Acacia Bay Reserve

An image taken of Lake Ōkāreka water levels at Acacia Bay Reserve on 13 November 2017.

Walkway at Acacia Bay Reerve

Acacia Reserve

about 3 years ago

Minimising stream bank erosion

Stream-bank erosion protection work has been underway on Waitangi Stream this week.

Minimising stream bank erosion

Stream-bank erosion protection work has been underway on Waitangi Stream this week.

The aim was to complete work by 25 January so water flow from Lake Okareka could be increased to 500 l/s, which has been done. 

As shown in the graph below, the Lake Okareka water level has been dropping in recent weeks and is almost back within the consented range. 

We will continue to monitor lake level changes and keep you informed.

Chart of Lake Ōkāreka water levels

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