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4 October 2018

Masterton District Council wants to update residents on work being undertaken to raise water levels at Henley Lake.

Henley Lake and the adjoining wetlands rely on water flowing into it from the Ruamahunga River. When the flow of the river naturally changes, this impacts on the water flowing into Henley Lake.

In late September the flow of the river naturally changed and there was reduced water flow into the lake. As a result, the water levels dropped.

We have been working with the Greater Wellington Regional Council to rectify this issue. However, this was complicated earlier this week by the flow of the river naturally changing again as a result of a “fresh” coming through the river.

The low water level is having an impact; some fish that have made their way into the wetlands during the winter months have been stranded. Our contractors are working hard to relocate any fish that may come into difficulty back into the main lake. We have also been working with the SPCA on this.

We know some recreational users of the lake may have some concerns – we want to assure people we are doing everything we can to increase the water levels.

We need to do more work at the river to ensure there is consistent flow into Henley Lake. We’re working with the Greater Wellington Regional Council on this and hope to have it done within the next week. Given the changing nature of rivers, there is no permanent guarantee for getting water into Henley Lake.

Q&A


Why are the water levels at Henley Lake so low?

The water in Henley Lake comes from the Ruamahunga River. It relies on the natural course of the river flowing into a water race that then sends water into Henley Lake. We’ve recently had a couple of freshes (increased flow through the river) that have changed the course of the river. This has meant that there’s less water flowing into Henley Lake.

What is Council doing about it?

When the natural course of the river changes we work with the Greater Wellington Regional Council to get water flowing back into Henley Lake. We did some of this work earlier this week, but unfortunately that was followed by another fresh. We’re hoping to get more work done within the next week to get more water flowing back into Henley Lake.

What if fish get stranded?

The low water levels is having an impact – some fish that made their way into the wetlands over the winter months have been stranded. We’ve worked with our contractors and the SPCA to locate any of these stranded fish and put them back into the main lake.

When will the water levels rise again?

We’re hoping to get more work done to redirect water back into Henley Lake within the next week. Once that’s done water will immediately flow back into Henley Lake and the lake levels will rise.

How are you going to stop this happening in the future?

Unfortunately the changing nature of rivers means we can never predict when our water source into Henley Lake may be reduced. We do have alerts set up to notify us when the water flow is compromised – our role is to then work with the Greater Wellington Regional Council to rectify the issue.