The government has allocated $8.25 million from its Freshwater Improvement Fund to help make Bay of Plenty rivers and lakes safer to swim in.
Lake Tarawera is set to be the largest Bay of Plenty body of water to benefit from the project, which includes contributions from councils and other groups.
Environment Minister Nick Smith made the announcement yesterday as part of $44 million being allocated to regions across the country.
“The government has an ambitious plan to improve water quality in our rivers and lakes that involves stronger direction to councils, tighter regulation and funding to support projects. We are announcing grants of $44 million for 33 projects which, with council and other contributions, will see $142 million invested in over 100 lakes and rivers,” says Nick.
“The priority for this $44 million investment has been projects that will contribute towards the government's goals of improving the swimming quality and ecological health of waterways. It will fund the fencing of waterways from farm animals, planting along streams, development of wetlands, sewage reticulation and water storage to increase minimum flows. There are also initiatives in the package to eradicate water weeds, remove pest fish and to retire marginal land adjacent to waterways.”
The grants are the first tranche of funding from the $100 million Freshwater Improvement Fund announced last year. Bids for the fund opened on February 23, and closed on April 13, and were assessed by an independent panel in May with recommendations made to the minister in July. Funding deeds will be negotiated with the successful applicants following the announcement.
“We know these improvement projects work from our previous investments. Lake Rotoiti in the North Island and Lake Brunner in the South have markedly improved water quality since similar grants were made from earlier funds. This investment of $44 million comes on top of $360 million in previous government commitments and brings this government's total investment in improvements to freshwater quality to over $400 million.”