There are five main types of options for adaptation planning. Within each type, there are a range of potential options. To achieve the best outcomes for adaptation planning, it’s likely that a combination of types and options will be needed.

The five main options for adaptation planning:

We enhance what we’re already doing.

We continue to live in an area while increasing knowledge of the environment and aiming to increase community risk awareness.

Options include things like emergency response management, maintaining existing infrastructure, broad district-wide land use planning, environmental monitoring and community awareness-raising.

We live with the hazard.

We continue to use land in an area by raising our tolerance to hazards, which means we can avoid or delay the need to remove or relocate at-risk assets in the short term.

Options include things like adapting buildings and infrastructure, raising land levels and managing ground and stormwater.

We keep the hazard away.

We interrupt coastal hazards using soft engineering approaches, hard engineering structures, or a combination of the two to form a barrier between the assets and the hazard.

Options include things like shoreline nourishment, seawalls or stopbanks.

We move away from the hazard.

We retreat from coastal areas, or relocate existing and planned development to reduce our exposure to the hazards. 

The hazard risk to assets is reduced or removed entirely, leaving the coast to respond to natural processes.

Options include things like buyouts, land swaps, or leasebacks where property rights are purchased with the provision that the land is leased back to the former owner.

We don’t move into the way of the hazard in the first place.

We use planning tools to avoid increasing the risk of harm to people and property.

Options include things like land zoning or setbacks that prevent development in some areas. 

Within each type, there is a range of potential options. To achieve the best outcomes for adaptation planning, it’s likely that a combination of types and options will be needed.

For more information on the wide range of possible adaptation options for low-lying and coastal communities, read the full Catalogue of Coastal Hazard Adaptation Options [PDF, 3.2 MB].

If the full Catalogue sounds like a bit too much detail for what you’re looking for, we’ve also created a Summary of the Catalogue of Coastal Hazards Adaptation Options [PDF, 1.5 MB], which provides an overview of the types of measures that are used locally, nationally and internationally to manage coastal hazards.