The regional council is asking the government chip in $3.5 million so it can spend $6.4 million on fixing Lake Tutira and Whakaki Lagoon.
The request was made through the first round of the newly minted $100 million Freshwater Improvement Fund launched by Environment Minister Nick Smith earlier this year.
According to the Ministry for the Environment's website approximately $24.5 million was made available in the first funding round, which is now closed.
“The fund is for projects costing $400,000 or more which will improve the quality and availability of water in our water bodies - lakes, rivers, streams, groundwater and wetlands,” the site reads.
“The aim is to make the biggest difference with the available funding. That’s why the fund is focusing on water bodies in vulnerable catchments that are showing signs of stress but have not yet reached a ‘tipping point’.
“This is when it becomes more expensive and more difficult to restore these water bodies to good health.”
From the above request, the council has allotted the lion’s share of the cash – $1,973,781 [the council will top this up to $3,553,861] to the much fraught Lake Tutira, with council staff saying the project’s purpose is “to restore the mauri of Lakes Tūtira and Waikōpiro, making a place that families can happily return to, and where children can swim.”
If the Tūtira FIF application is unsuccessful staff have prioritized actions within the existing
FIF plan that can be progressed over the 17/18 year funded from expected annual plan
budgetary provision. Prioritised works relate to actions c,f,g,h,j,k,l listed in the table above.
“This project builds on mahi being done via Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust’s, Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi initiative,” the report reads.
“[As such] problems being addressed are a lack of organisational and community alignment toward resolving water quality issues associated with lakes Tūtira and Waikōpiro.
“Erosion and sediment loss from the Tūtira catchment [and] excessive nutrient load in the Papakiri Stream - the main catchment waterway – [will also be addressed].”
According to the report, the project will also tackle poor mauri in lakes Tūtira and Waikōpiro, poor water quality in lakes Tūtira and Waikōpiro, a lack of longitudinal flow through lakes Tūtira and Waikōpiro, fish passage and connectivity.
Staff say expected improvements through implementing the FIF action plan is to make Lakes Tūtira and Waikōpiro are swimmable year round within 12 months of aeration-oxygenation of both lakes.
They also hope to achieve significant reduction in sediment and nutrient loads of primary catchment waterways and lakes and enhanced mauri within lakes and community commitment toward land-use practice that promotes long-term wellbeing of the lakes hapū, community and regional wellbeing.
The remaining $1,459,730 [to be topped up by the council with $1,358,044] will be spent on the Whakaki FIF Plan over a period of five years.
“[The] vision Statement is Kia hoki mai te mauri o te wai,” the staff report reads.
“We will revitalise Whakakī Lake while supporting sustainable land use, our goal is to help the water recover so tuna are fit for consumption and people can swim safely.
“This project has been developed in close association with the Whakakī Lake Trust who are kaitiaki of the lake.”
Councillors will discuss this report at today’s Environment Services Committee meeting.