Adapting to coastal hazards

One of the four goals that we’ve set in our Kia tūroa te Ao – Ōtautahi Christchurch Climate Resilience Strategy [PDF, 1.8 MB] is that we understand and are preparing for the ongoing impacts of climate change. While we work to mitigate the effects of climate change, our communities will also need to adapt to the changes that are already unavoidable.

The first step to adapting to the challenges created by climate change, and specifically, sea-level rise, is understanding the risks. We’ve updated our Coastal Hazard Assessment to help us understand the local impacts of sea level rise on coastal flooding, erosion and rising groundwater.

We’re using that updated coastal hazards information to inform our Coastal Hazards Adaptation Planning Programme. Adaptation planning is about preparing responses to reduce current and future risk for existing communities and infrastructure. 

We’re also using the updated Coastal Hazard Assessment as base information which has been analysed further to classify different levels of risk to inform our Coastal Hazards District Plan Change. This plan change is about managing future development, redevelopment and changes in land uses to avoid increasing risk, both now and the future. 

Central Government is also busy in this space. The Ministry for the Environment is leading significant reform of the Resource Management Act(external link) and has indicated that it will introduce a Climate Adaptation Act in 2023 that will address the complex legal and technical issues associated with managed retreat, and funding and financing adaptation.

While these pieces of legislation will provide us all with updated guidance about how we can manage these issues in the future, we know that we need to make a start now. 

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