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Water Quality

Hey there, welcome to the water clarity data collection community! We’ve got something pretty cool to tell you about – ever heard of a Secchi disk? It’s a super simple way to measure the clarity or transparency of the lake’s water.

All you need to do is get out on the water (boat, kayak, paddleboard – your choice), bring a Secchi disk, a temperature data logger and download two handy apps on your phone. Check out the link below for all the juicy details.

people in kayaks measuring water clarity with Secchi disks
Hand holding Secchi disk just under the surface of the water

Why are we collecting water clarity data?

So, here’s the deal. Our waterways are likely going through some changes right now, but there isn’t enough being done to keep an eye on them. We don’t have any baseline data to know if things are shifting and that’s where you come in! We need your help to collect monthly water clarity data, specifically between the 20th and the end of each month.

Wanna be in the loop? Just shoot us an email to getinvolved@waiwanaka.nz, and we’ll make sure you’re notified or added to the list.

That’s why we need to understand the current state of our lakes ASAP. We want to catch any changes that might be happening before it’s too late. As it turns out, Secchi disk data is a fantastic tool for establishing baseline conditions, tracking trends and sniffing out any current or emerging problems. According to the experts at NIWA (2021) it is like having a window into the lake’s secrets.

Image of the lake and amazing water clarity around the edge
Now, you might be wondering why we’re so obsessed with water clarity data. Well, listen up! Otago’s alpine lakes are vital for your community’s environmental and social well-being.

They’re not just pretty to look at, they’re part of our identity! They create opportunities for recreation, jobs and businesses. But here’s the thing: these lakes, although relatively pristine, are showing signs of deterioration. Yikes!

But wait, there’s more!

Read on to hear about the long-term use of this precious data and why it’s so important.

We don’t just want to keep all this knowledge to ourselves. We want our community to get educated and aware of what’s happening in our lakes. By rallying together and gathering data, we’ll strengthen our sense of place and grab the attention of researchers who can help us out. The more data we have, the better we can protect these precious resources.

boat on the lake with a view below the surface of the water
Photo by Mike Guest

Now, let’s talk about why water clarity matters. It’s all about how much light can penetrate the water and reach the aquatic life down below. When the water is clear, it means more sunlight can reach those aquatic plants, and that’s a big deal. It leads to increased photosynthesis in the plants, which boosts the oxygen levels in the lake. And guess what? That results in happier fish, birds, and other aquatic critters, creating a healthier ecosystem for everyone involved.

So, there you have it – the scoop on our water clarity mission. We’re counting on you to join the team and make a difference. Let’s get to the water and make our lakes the best they can be!

Click here for instructions for Secchi disk and app use.

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