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

This project in the media:
NZ Herald
The Dominion Post/
Breakfast (TVNZ) 
NBR (paywalled)
The Spinoff


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Check out the full list of Deep South Challenge projects

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