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Lakes may run dry

The futures of Masterton’s popular artificial lakes are being jeopardised by changing consent conditions.

The council will soon be engaging with the community regarding what the future could hold for Queen Elizabeth Park’s Remembrance Lake and Henley Lake.

A report to Masterton District Council [MDC] said changing consent conditions mean the council will
not be able to draw river water to support these lakes during periods of
low flow in the future.

“In a very dry summer, this could mean the lakes dry out completely, which will change the ‘look and feel’ of these locations and can contribute to things like loss of fish life and unpleasant smells,” the report said.

“To maintain the lakes as they are now, we would need to invest a substantial amount of money to draw water from another source.

“The alternative is to explore how we change the look and feel of these locations over time.

“For example, one or both lakes could be converted to a wetland which would not require as much water.”

This is not the first time the issue has been raised.

In 2019, a report to MDC said Henley Lake may have to become more like a wetland in summer if big money is not spent on an alternative water supply.

In 2020, the council decided not to pursue a consent to take water from the Ruamāhanga River for Henley Lake during times of low flow. Now, over the next three years, MDC will be exploring options for the future of Henley and Remembrance lakes.

“Once we have more information on feasible options and what they would cost, we will come back to the community to seek community input,” the recent report to the council said.

“To give us an early steer on what the community thinks, we would like to know your views on these environments now and your preferences for the future.”

As part of the soon to be released Long Term Plan Consultation Document, residents will be asked what they like best about the two popular lakes and whether they would prefer to see the current water level maintained “regardless of cost”, or whether they would be open to “exploring a different look and feel for the lake if it would cost less”.

Henley Lake was conceived as a recreational area in the 1960s and constructed in the 1980s.

The lake is fed water through a water race from the Ruamāhanga River, which runs adjacent to the park.

Remembrance Lake was constructed over the past century but had its origins as an ‘ornamental water’ in the early 1900s.

Its main water source is the Waipoua River. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded
through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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