Clutha District will face a range of new challenges and opportunities in a future changing climate.
What does climate change mean for Clutha District?
Climate change is expected to continue to bring higher temperatures, more frequent and heavier rainfall, higher sea levels, and more flood events.
Overall, the Clutha District will become warmer and wetter, with more water likely flowing through the Clutha River.
These changes may bring opportunities, such as improved winter pasture growth; but they may also bring challenges such as an increase in flood frequency and severity.
Drawing on the best available data from locals, historic rainfall and temperature records, and National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) projections, this report summarises the impacts and implications of climate change for the Clutha District.
See the full report - The Impacts and Implications of Climate Change for the Clutha District
While some infrastructure and facilities face significant risk, through informed and proactive planning, these can be mitigated and/or alternate adaptation pathways sought. Doing so, will ensure a vibrant and well-serviced district into the future.
Floods, extreme sea level events, heavy rainfall periods and long-term coastal erosion is expected to impact on important infrastructure and services such as water, waste, transport, buildings and public amenities.
We’re committed to better understanding, and preparing for, changes to our local climate and commissioned this assessment of climate change risks facing its built environment.
See the full report - The Risk of Climate Change to the Built Environment in the Clutha District
Council is working on a Climate Change Strategy & Action Plan.
We believe a clear strategy to demonstrate leadership and response to climate change is crucial.
This must consider what is happening at the global and national level, but also remain relevant for local communities in the Clutha District. The decisions that we take now will be critical to ensuring the ongoing wellbeing of our people and our communities.
Watch this space for more information to come.
Council has committed to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Climate change mitigation means reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change adaptation means adapting to the impacts of climate change such as increased flooding risks, etc.
In that respect, Clutha District Council works on important projects such as:
Resilient Water Supply
The establishment of a new water supply from the Clutha River was confirmed as a $14.5 million project in July 2021. This project will provide a high-quality, reliable source of water for much of central Clutha, including the Waitahuna, Tuapeka and Hillend areas. The Clutha River is less likely to be impacted by climate change than current water sources such as the Waitahuna and Tuapeka rivers, which can be affected by drought (limiting supply) and floods (sedimentation, flood damage). Local knowledge, climate change predictions, and significant community support were factors which led to Council’s decision to create a new single water source and treatment plant.
The Hina Hina Bridge across Catlins Lake was opened in July 2021, replacing the previous bridge which was built in 1957.
The single lane, $3.6 million bridge was jointly funded by Clutha District Council and Waka Kotahi, has a design life of 100 years, and is designed to be above any future flood levels, even with the prospect of rising sea level due to climate change.
This scheme, managed by Otago Regional Council (ORC), provides for the continuing economic prosperity of Balclutha and the Clutha Delta by protecting important infrastructure, homes, farms and businesses. Much of the area protected by the scheme is less than 1 metre above mean sea level.
ORC is reviewing the scheme and will consider increasing the level of protection, maintaining current level of service and possibly adaption to allow for climate change. ORC have noted that an increased level of protection may result in increased costs for the beneficiaries and wider communities.
A greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory or profile is a collection of emission data for a certain time and area. We contributed to the first Otago Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory to provide an overview of GHG emissions in Otago between July 2018 and June 2019.
Find out more about Otago and Clutha District’s emissions in the Otago Region Greenhouse Gas Profile.