Waterskiers welcome wetland

waterskiersA $25,000 grant from the Rotorua Trust has helped the building and installation of an artificial wetland on Lake Tikitapu to vastly improve water skiing and provide a valuable new ecosystem.

Paul Laing, the treasurer of the Rotorua Wake and Ski Club, says the Trust’s initial backing was influential in paving the way to attract other donors. Built in Maungaturoto, Northland, the 550-metre long artificial wetland was installed over three weeks in mid-2015.

The club had struggled to find a single funder for the scheme but once the Trust became involved, not only with funding but also with ideas, building a family of funders became a reality.

The club has been based at the lake for more than 60 years. The slalom course is one of the most exposed in New Zealand, facing prevailing winds and other lake users’ boat wakes. The wetland also replaces an unattractive drum barrier.

A number of environmental benefits will follow. Nutrients will be removed from the lake and improve water quality. The structure will provide a breeding environment for native koura and a nesting area for the rare dabchicks and other waterfowl.

“As a water ski club, we were concerned to ensure the lake water quality did not get any worse and also wanted to come up with a way to have completely calm water for the slalom course.”

A 2.41 metre variation in lake water levels provided a challenge for Kauri Park Nurseries and Water Clean Technologies, which built and installed the wetland, but they came up with innovative solutions.

“Having the wetland means we will be able to use the slalom course all day, every day and not just when there is no wind and other boats. So it is going to make a massive difference to us, particularly during the busy summer season.”

The development has already had a spin-off for the club and Rotorua in a number of areas.

“We have already seen an increase in membership this season and, because the course will be more usable more often, we will be able to coach more people,” Paul says. To learn more regarding the wetland project, go to the dedicated page on the club website at www.rwsc.nz

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