As the timing and severity of sea level rise impacts will vary across the district, we’re doing our adaptation planning in sections.

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Adaptation planning in Whakaraupō-Lyttelton Harbour and Koukourarata-Port Levy

We’re starting with communities in the Whakaraupō-Lyttelton Harbour and Koukourarata-Port Levy area.

We chose these communities because, as well as having places that are going to be impacted by coastal hazards in the short term, the area has a unique combination of factors that make it a great place to pilot our approach.

It’s a mix of an urban and rural environment, with built, cultural, economic, social and ecological interests. It also has infrastructure dependencies, such as the transport network, which has implications for the wider area.

Why we're doing this work

Between 2005 and 2020 we experienced 10cm of sea level rise, and it is virtually certain that it will continue to rise over the 21st century. 

In Ōtautahi Christchurch, we anticipate a further rise of 14 to 23cm of sea level by 2050, and 38cm to 1m by 2100 (compared to the 2020 sea level). Over the longer term, there is high certainty that the sea level is committed to rising for centuries to millennia to come due to deep-ocean warming and ice-sheet melt, and it will remain elevated for thousands of years.

For more information see this  report from the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change(external link).

To read about coastal hazards that may be exacerbated as sea levels rise, watch these videos.

You can explore the possible effects anywhere on our coastline in this interactive coastal hazards portal(external link).

Read our information brochures to find out more about what the impacts could be for your area:

As we start adaptation planning in the Whakaraupō-Lyttelton Harbour and Koukourarata-Port Levy area, we will be using a Coastal Panel, which is a diverse group of 14 community and rūnanga representatives from the area, along with some city-wide representatives.

Four of these Coastal Panel representatives are youth, in recognition of the fact that adaptation planning is an intergenerational conversation and the impacts of climate change will be felt for centuries to millennia to come.

The Coastal Panel should take into account diverse views and interests, rather than advocate for a particular point of view.

The Coastal Panel will provide informed recommendations to the Council for adaptation plans that allow communities impacted by coastal hazards to respond to changes over time.

The Coastal Panel:

  • Considers the cultural, social, environmental, built, physical and economic impacts of coastal hazards, and agrees – where possible by consensus – on a shortlist of potential options to address these impacts.
  • Considers the broad range of limitations (including technical), thresholds for change and community tolerance to risk, and agrees – where possible by consensus, on recommended adaptation pathways.
  • Facilitates engagement with the wider community on the proposed options, pathways and triggers for action.
  • Considers community views alongside input and expertise from technical and specialist advisors in order to make recommendations to the Council on preferred options and pathways.

Note: The Coastal Panel does not have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the Council, nor do they have powers of veto.

For more information about the Coastal Panel and its role, read the Coastal Panel Terms of Reference [PDF, 811 KB]

The Coastal Panel will have the support and assistance of a Specialist and Technical Advisory Group (STAG) – a forum that’s made up of experts in their field. The STAG members are able to provide information, advice and guidance to support coastal panel decision-making.

Because adaptation planning involves weighing up social, cultural, ecological, built and other values, the coastal panel should be committed to the process of adaptation planning, rather than on achieving a particular outcome or focusing on a particular geographic area.