'Puddle' storing up visitor trouble

By Grant Bradley

Under crystal-clear skies at Lake Tekapo, the tourists are happy but some locals are nervous.

Rainfall into the lake - one of the key parts of New Zealand's electricity supply - is at record-low levels.

Local Lorna Inch said yesterday: "This is a puddle, not a lake. It does affect us because holidaymakers bypass the area or can't launch boats."

The edge of the lake is about 60m from where it should be in ideal early winter conditions. "It's not as low as it has been in spring but it should be at its best at the moment," says local contractor Peter Brass.

Gift-shop operators say tourists are talking about the look of the lake. Power generator Meridian Energy says heavy rain could change the picture in a week.

A grocer is philosophical: "In the last 25 years it has been low and it has been high. It's like a bathtub."

- NZ Herald

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