The annual drawdown of Lake Rotoiti will commence over the next few days and will see the lake drop 100mm below its normal operating range.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council lowers the lake by an extra 100mm each year as part of consent guidelines to help facilitate flushing of the Ōhau Channel and reduce flood risk in the channel.
Subject to weather constraints, the Regional Council will lower lake levels gradually and hold the lower levels for a few weeks to allow inspection of lake margins and assets like jetties and boat ramps.
Council’s Okere Gates Operator, Graeme O’Rourke, explained that under the current consent conditions, council has between 36 and 55 days during the winter months to achieve this drawdown each year.
“At this time of year, I try to look ahead through the weather forecasts and find a few weeks of low rainfall – this is the best opportunity to get the lake levels down and flush the Channel. The current rain may raise the lake a few extra centimetres so we’ll try and keep the Gates open to stay in the main operating range and then drop into the ‘drawdown zone’ from there.
“That means that river users, like the rafting community, can expect to see the gates fully open at some stage shortly as we work to get the annual drawdown completed as painlessly as possible. As always, I’ll keep them up to date with progress and information on the gates as soon as I can,” Mr O’Rourke said.
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.