New Zealand: Lake Te Ko Utu

Cambridge, Waikato

1988 and 2009, Iain Trousdell and team with Waipa Council.

Design for Life was approached by the Waipa District Council  for advice  because the beautiful, forest-surrounded Lake Te Koutu, a 25 hectare lake created by a huge flood 1500 years ago, was dying from eutrophication and lack of movement, unable to cope with minimal run-off from the town.  In particular an arm of the lake, which was in a Cambridge town park,  was in stagnant condition. Fish and ducks had abandoned it  and people were making comments about the unhealthy looking site. It clearly needed its waters revivified and plans were in place to build a sluice channel bringing fresh water to it from a bore.

Design for Life (Iain Trousdell’s company) suggested that the Superstream™ effect would treat the low-oxygen artesian water much more effectively to benefit the lake, while also landscaping an unused gully to bring people down to the lake from a new entrance to the park.

The amount of artesian water supply was insufficient to make changes on the lake so, through a gully, we introduced a Superstream™ of over 40 large Flowforms, with a walking track beside, and then created a beautiful authentic rock-strewn stream to carry the water the remaining 30 metres to the lake.  A beautiful curved bridge was built to span the stream for the walker brought into the area.

The Superstream™ effect, where one metre of our Flowform® eco-technology is similar to ten metres of natural stream movement,  means that the 43 Flowform® sculptures are equivalent to hundreds of metres of mountain stream, in terms of vigorous oxygenating water movement. Such movement is how Nature continually improves its fresh water quality.

The sculpture not only treated the lake successfully, but also added all the sights and sounds of an energetic stream to the previously quiet lake, sunk in its amphitheatre of trees, with the sounds of running water spreading over a large area of the park. The slideshow shows the water as it was before and after the Flowform® eco-sculptures were added.

In 2009 the Waipa District Council reworked the installation with an extensive wooden walkway and will be refurbishing the sculptures in 2010.


“Improvement to the water quality in the lake arm has been astounding. The small flow of fresh water has resulted in almost eliminating algae blooms which formed unpleasant odours during the summer months. It is now a pleasure to wander around this part of the lake and to feed the ducks in relatively clear water.” – Dale Eady, Waipa Services.