The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has received a number of reports of possible algal blooms and water discolouration affecting parts of Lake Tarawera, including the Wairua Arm (near Hotwater Beach) and the area around the campsite at the outflow of Lake Tarawera.
Algal blooms can be caused by potentially toxic cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae). Water sampling is underway to determine if cyanobacteria are causing these blooms and water discolouration.
The advice from the Medical Officer of Health, Dr Neil de Wet, is that lake users should be vigilant and exercise caution before any contact with lake water. If the water looks discolored, has an unusual odour or visible algae are present it is best to avoid any contact with the water and swim somewhere else. Water should also not be taken for drinking purposes from any part of the lake that looks like it may be affected by algal blooms or is discoloured.
Further advice will be provided when results of sampling become available.
For more information about cyanobacteria blooms and health please see: https://www.ttophs.govt.nz/vdb/document/43