Current work on climate change

Building safe and resilient communities is one of our highest priorities at ORC. We also believe climate change needs to be considered in all that we do to monitor and protect the environment.


Climate change adaptation programmes

Some of our projects in this area are highlighted below:

  1. South Dunedin and harbourside. These are considered low-lying areas and ‘at risk’ of sea-level rise due to climate change. We are continuing our groundwater monitoring programme in low-lying parts of Dunedin city and South Dunedin to study the runoff, tidal and groundwater interactions.
  2. Coast (Waitaki). Coastal erosion monitoring. We commissioned a report on coastal erosion and inundation, taking into account climate change-related sea-level rise and various emissions scenarios.
  3. Clutha Delta and Taieri flood plain. Flood protection and drainage schemes are in place. We’re undertaking a risk assessment of climate change impacts to the Clutha Delta and Taieri Plain, including consequences for levels of service and future infrastructure requirements of the flood and drainage schemes.
  4. Dart and Rees River adaptation. A collaborative project with QLDC, the current objective is to provide a framework to actively manage the risks associated with natural hazards for the long-term development of the area located at the head of Lake Wakatipu, including Glenorchy and Kinloch. It’s in its early stages, with community consultation likely in 2020.
  5. All of Otago. We are undertaking a climate change risk assessment for all of Otago. This work focuses on improving the understanding of risk and will provide information to assist local authorities, communities and others to make informed decisions about preparing and adapting for the effects of climate change.


Other programmes

  • Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan: Climate change is likely to impact on the health and distribution of species. Pests will spread to new areas, habitats will change and indigenous species may need to migrate. The biodiversity strategy includes our need to understand the potential impacts from climate change and prepare for them.
  • Education: ORC coordinates the Enviroschools programme in Otago, working alongside our regional partners to foster a generation of young people who instinctively think and act sustainably.
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