The Effects of Climate Change on our District
In Waimakariri, the effects of climate change will mean we experience weather extremes more frequently over time, and, in some places, coastal inundation.
Longer hot and dry summers, milder winters with less snowfall, less annual rainfall and stronger winds will become the norm, along with sea level rise and a gradual warming between 0.7°C and 3°C by 2090.
Fewer frosts inland and a longer growing season may provide opportunities for different agricultural land uses. Rivers and streams may have lower flow reliability, as it may be drier due to less rain. Predictions indicate winds will be stronger across the plains.
These changes will put core infrastructure at risk, change how and what development takes place, and require a rethink about where and how we build, live and work, and what the type of agriculture and other activities are suitable for the district.
In late 2019, we adopted a Climate Change Policy to ensure we're able to respond to climate change challenges appropriately. Following this, in 2022 we adopted a Climate Change Scenario Technical Report. The report, prepared by NIWA, will inform our climate change response in the Waimakariri District.
The report found that weather patterns are expected to become more volatile, and we will see annual average temperatures increase generally with fewer frost and snow days.
We can also expect more frequent heavy rainfall, as well as more frequent and prolonged droughts due the temperature increases. There will also be some changes seen in our coastal areas due to sea levels rising.
The NIWA report provides us with a broader picture of the predicted effects of climate change at a district level.
This will provide crucial information for future strategies and plans around climate change. As well as this, we are currently refreshing our climate change forward work programme.
This includes carrying out a risk assessment to see what land and infrastructure is most at risk and working with the community to identify options for reducing this risk. This will form the basis of a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
We will be calculating an emissions profile for the District, developing our own emissions reduction plan and encouraging residents, businesses and communities within the District to come on this journey with us
To help our residents better prepare for extreme weather events as a result of climate change, we prepared a video with ways our residents can keep themselves and their property safe and also details what council does in extreme weather events.
We are carrying out a risk assessment to see what land and infrastructure is most at risk from coastal inundation and flooding and working with the community to identify options for reducing this risk.
The results of Waimakariri District Council’s 2022 Customer Satisfaction Survey showed more than 70 percent of respondents said it was important for the Council be active in responding to climate change.
Council also received feedback in the survey calling for more green areas, larger parks and recreational areas.
Residents said they wanted council to show leadership by prioritising climate change, sustainability, and environmental protection.
The Canterbury Climate Change Risk Assessment, released in 2022, broadly identified risks and opportunities arising from climate change in Waitaha/Canterbury.
This work provides an evidence base for Waitaha/Canterbury’s response to climate change. This work was commissioned by the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, working in partnership with Ngāi Tahu to lay the foundation for regional climate change adaptation planning.
Environment Canterbury, as the regional council, helps Waitaha/Canterbury councils work together to develop a shared understanding of the implications of climate change for our region, and strategies to manage risks and opportunities. It is also committed to helping communities understand and prepare for climate change, and to reducing its own carbon impact.
Environment Canterbury’s programme to integrate climate change into all work and decisions began in 2018, followed by a climate emergency declaration. Its work programmes include projections of climate change along with research to assess risks and opportunities.
The regional council founded this website to share its climate change science. It’s Time Canterbury
We have a small window of time to prevent the worst-case climate change projections coming to pass.
At the same time, we need to prepare for the effects of climate change that are already locked in.
Nationally, a New Zealand emissions reduction plan is being prepared. National and regional adaptation planning is also underway, and local plans will follow.
Right now, there are plenty of ways Waitaha/Canterbury individuals, whānau, households, businesses and organisations can shape our own low-carbon future. You might even find there are benefits that stretch beyond this into other economic, health and environmental impacts.
- Understanding how you are contributing to climate change is a great place to start. You can check out your carbon footprint using this Ecological Footprint Calculator.
- The Ministry for the Environment has many examples of free or low-cost actions you can take every day, such as shopping local, reducing your energy use and thinking about what you eat.
- Gen Less, by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, has dozens of ideas for things you can do for free, changes that cost a bit and big changes worth investing in.
- Project Drawdown is a really useful resource for climate solutions.
- The Sustainable Living Trust helps you with practical and fun ways to reduce your environmental impact, for a healthier, lower-waste yet good quality lifestyle.
- Interested in becoming entirely carbon neutral? You’ll need to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The Ministry for the Environment provides guidance for measuring and offsetting emissions.
- For kids, download Environment Canterbury’s ‘Changing Climate’ booklet and NIWA’s climate change resources.
- Our tamariki will also enjoy learning about climate change from the scientists working to understand it. LEARNZ have produced a series of field trip videos about our region, and this TVNZ Science on Ice episode will teach them the important role we have in protecting Antarctica and the planet.
Climate Change Scenario Technical report
Council adopted this report in July 2022. It outlines the predicted impacts of climate change and how council will combat these challenges.