Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere Opening/Closing Options
Whakaora Te Waihora is the Joint Cultural and Ecological Restoration programme between Ngāi Tahu and Environment Canterbury for the restoration and rejuvenation of the mauri and ecosystem health of Te Waihora. One of the programme aims is to investigate the possibilities for an engineered lake level through use of different opening and closing methods, interventions and infrastructure to enable Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) to be better managed for values outlined in the Te Waihora Water Conservation Order and Whakaora Te Waihora. The numerous past schemes and proposals for how to open the lake have largely been based on economic values attached to land-use, particularly agriculture, with little consideration for the ecosystem function of the lake and its status as an important mahinga kai. From the perspective of restoration and rejuvenation of the mauri of the lake, water level control is fundamental to the success of all in-lake mitigation measures.