$4.45m to make Lake Hayes swimmable again

The entire Queenstown Lakes District will pay for the restoration of Lake Hayes over the next 10...
Lake Hayes. Photo: Craig Baxter
More than $4 million will be spent to make Lake Hayes swimmable again.

The Department of Conservation has announced a raft of new projects in the South Island funded through the Jobs for Nature programme.

One of them is the rehabilitation of Te Wai Whakaata, the Lake Hayes catchment.

Over the past 70 years, the 280ha lake near Queenstown has suffered from a build-up of nutrients from human activity.

This includes historical fertiliser application, septic tank effluent and the removal of wetlands and riparian plantings. The catchment has been used for agriculture since the late 1800s.

This has lead to periodic algal blooms caused by a build-up of phosphorous, which often leaves the lake unsuitable for swimming.

The project is being run by Mana Tāhuna, a charitable trust based in Queenstown, and DoC has provided $4.45m for the work.

Over three years, the project will work with other community groups to plant natives and restore wetlands as well as control possums, rats and stoats and install sediment traps.

It is estimated that up to 25 people will be employed through the project.

Algal blooms have worsened since 2006, turning parts of the picturesque lake a reddy-copper colour.

The declining water quality is not just visual - it has led to fish kills and skin irritation for swimmers.


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Why is the taxpayer picking up the tab for this?
It should be paid for by the ratepayers of the Queenstown Lakes District Council, they're the ones who have created the problem, especially those who live in the catchment area of Lake Hayes.
Your mismanagement has turned the lake into a sewer, you pay to fix it.

Oh no, that's not how it works at all. Ask the farmers.

I don’t know about Lake Hayes, but the average temperature of Queenstown lakes is around 8 Celsius. So who and how many people go swimming? The only significant safety factor for swimming is microbiological quality so reducing nutrient levels will not make the water safer. Water fowl are probably the villains . I am not convinced this is good use of $4.5 million of anyone’s money?

This is fantastic to hear as for me and many people that live around Lake Hayes and in Arrowtown we swim in this lake almost every day in the summer and look forward to it every year, it’s such a beautiful lake and can warm up quite a bit in the summer compared to other lakes! .. there will be so many people very happy to see Lake Hayes back to its glory! But I do admit the domestic geese that escaped Neighbours land should go unfortunately as they are trying to take over the lake and will do if not under control!

Usual story, no "polluter pays", ratepayers and taxpayers once again cleaning up other peoples s**t.

80% of E.coli found accross the four main catchments in southland was tested by the regional council to be from ducks and geese. Taxpayers gifting a Maori group to "fix this up" will not succeed. Of course DoC and the Maoris will call it a victory despite no improvement of the water quality.

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