Water quality concerns

The effect of the algal bloom on Lakes Hayes water quality is a community issue, the Otago Regional Council's hearing panel was told last week.

The Friends of Lake Hayes group made a submission to the council's draft annual plan and spokesman Kerry Dunlop asked the council to support the group's efforts to have more research done into the algal blooms.

''It's not just those who reside around Lake Hayes who are concerned about the water quality. This is a community issue and the condition of the lake has wider impact than just the residents,'' Mr Dunlop told the panel, which met in Cromwell last week.

The group has asked for council support in seeking Central Lakes Trust funding for a deep water monitoring buoy. The application might be made in conjunction with the Guardians of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, as those lakes ''would also benefit from the information from having deep water monitoring buoys installed'', Mr Dunlop said.

Before any cost-effective method could be applied to reduce the level of algal blooms in Lake Hayes, more study was required. The group has sought council funding towards research by a University of Otago student into the issue.

The group was formed seven years ago because of concerns about Lake Hayes water quality and had about 50 members, Mr Dunlop said. His association with the lake spanned more than 60 years.

The lake's fishery values were also under threat, he said.

''There are some fish being caught in the lake, but not many.''

Although the bloom cleared in 2010-11, it was back this year, Mr Dunlop said.

An approach was made to the trust about funding a deep-water monitoring buoy in 2009, but the trust said it was ''highly unlikely'' to support any grant application because research was a core responsibility of the regional council. However, he believed there might be a ''change of heart'' by the trust.

The Guardians of Lake Wanaka also submitted to the annual plan saying the plan did not adequately address the needs and requirements of deep-water lake management in the upper Clutha.

It asked the council to support groups seeking funding to develop a southern lakes management plan. The use of deep-water monitoring buoys to collect data would be one element of the plan.

The guardians would seek funding from trusts but recommended the council own any capital equipment, such as the buoys, and take responsibility for maintenance, as the data gathered would be of benefit to the council.

The council's annual plan attracted a total of 55 submissions and the council heard from submitters last week in Cromwell and in Dunedin. It has yet to announce its decisions.