WSP Water Sector Leader, Liam Foster addresses climate change and its profound wear and tear on New Zealand’s operational systems.
The most common natural hazards affecting New Zealand are floods, severe storms, and extreme temperatures. A common secondary impact from extreme weather events is the loss of critical infrastructure services, including energy, water, wastewater, transportation, and communications.
Liam used his platform at the Stormwater 2018 Conference to address how we can make positive steps to improve the current and future performance of stormwater operations and infrastructure.
Identifying potential next steps, Liam proposed future-ready framework to ensure that we are better suited for future uncertainties:
1. Undertake a comprehensive integrated water management (or at the very least stormwater) vulnerability assessment. This will include deriving a consistent understanding of the current levels of vulnerability across the four well-beings;
2. Consult with the local community and relevant stakeholders to share pertinent information but determine and agree on a suitable way forward to address the challenges that are acceptable;
3. Consult with relevant stakeholders (including across Council Departments) and others with regional and local capital delivery programmes (Public and Private entities). Identify key collaborative opportunities for making significant local changes to the resilience and adaptation to ongoing and likely future climate impacts, and;
4. Encourage the delivery of infrastructure that is designed with this uncertainty in mind around the scale of future exceedance events. Designing with a ‘precautionary’ approach will help to best prepare us for climate change impacts and implications