National flood risks & climate change
Emergent exposure of flood inundation hazards under future climate change in New Zealand
Floods are some of New Zealand’s most frequent, most damaging and most disruptive natural hazards. As our climate changes, flooding caused by both increased rainfall and rising sea levels – in coastal areas and on floodplains – is expected to increase.
As floods worsen, so will the social, cultural, economic and environmental consequences. Pinpointing exactly which areas are most at risk can be difficult, especially as extreme weather events become more frequent and less predictable.
There’s not a lot of information currently available to central and local government about exactly what infrastructure is at risk. Information is urgently needed to help identify high-risk areas and prioritise mitigation and adaptation efforts.
This project will produce scientific models that allow practitioners and researchers to identify how flood risk may evolve in their area. These models will determine which assets – like buildings, roads, bridges and railway lines – are at risk, on both a regional and national level.
The models produced by this research will be available in open access software called RiskScape, developed by NIWA and GNS Science, to directly help those people whose job it is to manage flood risk. If we can accurately predict the areas of highest risk, we can adapt, minimising harm to New Zealand’s population and economy.
Project contact: Ryan Paulik, NIWA
Project budget: $205,000
Project duration: July 2017 – June 2019
This project in the media:
Funding announced for climate resilience research, Scoop.co.nz
Research and findings:
Emergent exposure of flood inundation hazards under future climate change in New Zealand, Ryan Paulik, Deep South Symposium
Latest news and updates
The recent Edgecumbe floods saw raw sewage floating through the streets, making the clean-up extremely challenging. Over 300 homes in the district were damaged and six months later, 240 houses are still unliveable. Flood-proofing the town itself remains a distant goal.
The Deep South Challenge announces new research into who should bear the cost of our changing climate, and when.
All over New Zealand, from Haumoana to Westport, from Edgecumbe to the Kāpiti Coast, from Dunedin to Wellington City, homeowners and businesses are starting to feel the financial effects of climate change.
Susan Livengood is the Partnerships Director of the Deep South Challenge, and works within the Engagement programme – which tries to connect what’s happening in every programme of the challenge with both the broader public and with targeted individuals and organisations throughout New Zealand’s public and private sectors.