Significant milestone reached in region’s climate resilience journey

  • Published Date 04 Jun 2024
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A significant step toward becoming a climate resilient region has been reached following the adoption of the Wellington Regional Climate Change Impact Assessment Report (WRCCIA) by the Wellington Regional Leadership Committee (WRLC) this morning.

Produced by a project team comprised of staff from nine of the WRLC’s partner councils and supported leading subject-matter experts, the report presents a foundational assessment of the risks and impacts of a changing climate to our region over the next 100 years, and the first phase in a project to help the region adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.

The Wairarapa-Wellington-Horowhenua region is projected to grow future growth of 200,000 more people over the next 30 years and the WRCCIA identifies areas and sectors of the region which are particularly vulnerable or resilient to a changing climate and provides a regionally consistent framework to inform the next phase of the project, a regional adaptation framework.

The report notes that climate change impacts will differ across the region. Made up of 12,300 kilometres of rivers and streams, and over 500 kilometres of coastline, it identifies our built infrastructure as most likely to be highly impacted by climate change.

The data analysis in the report revealed 363 risks and 12 opportunities identified across five domains, of which the greatest after built infrastructure (128) relate to the economy (93), followed by natural environment (73), human (69), governance (6), and transition to low carbon (5). The five domains are often highly interdependent, particularly governance-related risks, which emerge from other domain risks.

Among the other findings were the need for more consistent data and decision-support tools in the region, in the face of a changing climate which is already impacting the region. A recent reminder was the intense rainfall in July and August 2022 resulted in 670 slips over seven weeks, destroying cars, damaging essential water and power infrastructure, blocking roads, and forcing the evacuation of residents.

The WRCCIA acknowledges the importance of mana whenua priorities, mātauranga and Te Ao Māori and the next phase of the project will seek to embed these concepts into a regional approach to adaptation.

Following completion of the WRCCIA, work has already commenced on identifying the needs and developing a regional approach to adaptation. This work will build on these findings and identify a portfolio of actions to help avoid future costs, ensure resilience and set the Wellington region for a thriving future.

Updated June 5, 2024 at 11:40 AM

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