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Published: 2008-08-12 00:00:00

Collaboration between Environment Waikato, Taupo District Council, Mighty River Power, Tuwharetoa and other groups is the key to addressing Lake Taupo foreshore erosion problems, says EW’s regulatory committee chairman Ian Balme.

He was commenting after his committee today decided against reviewing MRP’s Waikato River power scheme consents, which allow the power company to control the level of the lake within defined operating guidelines.

Some people believe this lake level management regime is the primary cause of foreshore erosion at Taupo, and they have called for the MRP consents to be formally reviewed on this basis.

But the regulatory committee has agreed that a formal consents review is not warranted at this stage, and that foreshore erosion issues are best addressed through the Lake Taupo Erosion and Flood Strategy project, involving EW, MRP, TDC and the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board.

A resource use group report to the committee noted EW staff advice that there appeared to be no clear basis for undertaking a review of the MRP resource consents process at this time.

The report said the advice was that there was agreement the lake level management regime did contribute to erosion but that the degree of its influence was "inconclusive".

Cr Balme said recent findings were not absolutely precise regarding the impacts of individual causes and contributors to erosion, such as wind and waves, geology, tectonic subsidence, land use and soil conservation practices, the lake level regime, lakeside structures, and the operational and management practices for such things as boat ramps.

The report indicated the issue of a formal review of consents could be revisited in future and it was expected work under the erosion and flood strategy project would give guidance as to whether this was necessary.

Cr Balme noted a joint EW-TDC councilor workshop on foreshore erosion was scheduled for Wednesday 21 August, with a view to clarifying and confirming what role each council wished to undertake on preventing foreshore erosion.

"That will give both councils an opportunity to thoroughly go over all the issues concerned," Cr Balme said.

In a separate report to the council’s rivers and catchment services committee, hazards manager Adam Munro said: "The joint workshop is a very important stepping stone for the development of a long-term erosion and flood hazard management strategy for Lake Taupo."