Local and national freshwater updates

Positive water news for our community is that Upper Clutha Lakes Trust (UCLT) has secured a site to establish the Alpine Lakes Research and Education Centre (ALREC) in Wanaka.  Wanaka offers an incredible setting for research and ALREC’s vision is to secure the long-term ecosystem health of the South Island Alpine Lakes by promoting collaboration and communication between researchers, regulators, educators and local communities.  

Hon Eugenie Sage visited Wanaka last week to announce a $7.5m funding increase for Land Information New Zealand’s work to protect lakes, rivers and lands from invasive weeds and pests, with some of that funding earmarked for Lagarosiphon management in Lake Wanaka.  The funding will increase existing monitoring and control activities, which in Lake Wanaka includes the use of hessian matting, hand weeding and herbicide spraying. 

ORC has successfully installed its first monitoring buoy, on Lake Hayes. ORC also plans to install a monitoring buoy on Lake Wanaka and one on Lake Wakatipu.  These buoys will provide data about what is occurring in the lakes, both at the surface and at various depths. Regular monitoring and reliable data sets are vital steps towards implementing informed, long-term management plans for our alpine lakes.

Less positively, the 2018 Wellbeing statistics recently released by Statistics NZ showed that 80 percent of Kiwis responded ‘yes’ when asked whether they think NZ has any environmental issues with the state of rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands, and aquatic life. Locally, 75 percent of those who completed the recent Upper Clutha water survey believe that water quality in the Upper Clutha is getting worse, with the key concerns being agricultural runoff, the use of pesticides, fertilisers and other chemicals, and issues related to population growth.  

The recent discharge of raw sewage into Lake Taupo was a horrific reminder that wastewater networks are vulnerable to breakage as well as blockages. UCLT will be submitting on QLDC’s application for a consent to discharge wastewater directly into our lakes and rivers, as will the Guardians of Lake Wanaka and the Guardians of Lake Hawea.  Submissions close July 12, 2019.

Contact secretary@uppercluthalakestrust.org for more information on UCLT projects.


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