Stormwater, wastewater and climate change: Impacts on our economy, environment, culture and society
We don’t yet know how climate change will impact our critical stormwater and wastewater infrastructure. We also don’t know the extent to which climate change-induced damage to this infrastructure might directly, or indirectly, impact our economy, environment, culture and society.
This project aims to explore these potential impacts and to develop a detailed theory of change. Only once we have determined the impacts, and the performance required of our storm and wastewater network in a changed climate, can we design an efficient and effective solutions pathway.
This project will involve a comprehensive review of New Zealand and international literature, including local and regional case studies, as well as a detailed process to gather end user needs and requirements, via a panel of a key experts, including iwi representatives.
Although the project is not focussed on adaptation strategies, the research does aim to show which types of economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts are likely to be the most serious, and where they might emerge. The resulting information will provide useful guidance for key local government and water sector decision-makers.
The research team combines excellence in engineering, economics and physical science – and comprises experts from Tonkin + Taylor, NIWA and Infometrics. The project emerged from our October 2017 Climate Change and Stormwater and Wastewater Systems report.
Project contact: James Hughes, Tonkin + Taylor
Project budget: $134,670
Project duration: January 2018 – February 2019
Latest news and updates
2018 may well be the year New Zealand gets serious about adapting to our changing climate. Last year, and the start of this one, gave all of us plenty of opportunities to experience a future in which creeping sea level rise and extreme weather – from drought to flood to surprise storm surges – make day-to-day life more precarious and more expensive.
In October 2017, the Deep South Challenge released a report into the state of the nation’s storm and waste water infrastructure, in the face of a changing climate. The report garnered significant media attention – not surprising given the infrastructure is currently valued at well over $20 billion.
The Deep South Challenge awards funding to investigate climate-resilient, high-value crops for the whānau of Omaio
The whānau of Omaio in the Bay of Plenty have joined forces with NIWA researchers to explore the viability of climate-resilient, high-value crops for the rohe. The group has won a $250,000 research grant under the Vision Mātauranga programme of the Deep South National Science Challenge to better understand Omaio’s changing climate and how it might support the community to create a local economy based around a high-value product like kiwi fruit.