Exposed: A new resilience tool for local government

Exposed: A new resilience tool for local government

Tonkin + Taylor is excited to have assisted LGNZ with preparing its newly released Exposed climate change and infrastructure guidance document, a key policy tool for councils.

The January 2019 LGNZ report VULNERABLE: The quantum of local government infrastructure exposed to sea level rise was ground-breaking. It also generated a national conversation around the need for pro-active planning to ensure safe, sustainable communities in the years to come.

For the first time, Aotearoa New Zealand was able to grasp the blunt reality of its vast exposure and the potential impacts of sea level rise in real world terms.

The total replacement value of all exposed infrastructure (three waters, roading, buildings/facilities, green space and landfills) at the 1.5 metre increment was estimated at approximately $8 billion. At between 1.5 and 3.0 metres of sea level rise, that figure rose to more than $13 billion.

Three waters infrastructure was found to be at greatest risk. At 1.5 metres of sea level rise, more than 6,000 kilometres of pipe is exposed, roughly equivalent to a return trip from Melbourne to Darwin. The length of exposed roading at 1.5 metres of sea level rise is more than 2,000 kilometres, or roughly the distance from Stockholm to Rome.

The results stunned communities, local government and politicians alike. But where to from there? Exposed builds on the initial LGNZ report, delivering the crucial next steps.

T+T Infrastructure Resilience Specialist James Hughes says it was a privilege to work with LGNZ on both reports: “We believe they will contribute to building capacity within our councils to enable a more climate resilient future.”

Exposed provides guidance for councils on how to assess the exposure of council-owned infrastructure to the impacts of coastal inundation and inland flooding.

James says it provides a well-defined approach for assessing the risk to infrastructure caused by climate hazards, as well as providing a platform on which to create more resilient infrastructure and communities.

Exposed also contains guidance for elected members. It suggests a range of questions they can ask of staff and communities to ensure they have the accurate and up-to-date information needed to make good climate change adaptation decisions, understand community perspectives and the adaptation options available.