Wāhanga tūmahi: Urutaunga
Action area: Adaptation

We need to prepare for changes to our climate by planning for future risks.


Why we need to adapt

When we refer to adaptation in relation to climate change, we're referring to the process of adjusting to climate change impacts as a society, both the risks and opportunities.

Climate change is affecting Wellington in terms of sea level rise and extreme weather events that increase flooding. For this reason, risks are especially high for Wellington’s coastal and low-lying areas. This is just the beginning and it's critical we consider how we adapt.

Visit Climate change in Wellington to learn more about how climate change will impact Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. 


How we can adapt

He waka eke noa
We're all in this together

As we work towards becoming a carbon zero city, we must adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Deciding how to adapt to climate change is complex, and there is no single solution.

As a community, we need to come together to decide where and how we will grow as a city and live with our changing environment.

The process of our adaptation would likely naturally occur over time, however, we need to take strategic, proactive action now. Adaptation plans need to be dynamic to respond as the climate risks increase.

Adaptation options for sea level rise can include:

  • avoiding development in vulnerable areas
  • redesigning infrastructure and services to accommodate climate change impacts
  • constructing protection of assets and services, for example, sea walls, sand dune revegetation
  • retreating from vulnerable areas over time.

To manage heavier rainfall, we will need to avoid additional growth in flood-prone areas, increase vegetation cover and upgrade our water network.


What we're doing to support adaptation

The Council already started to implement a range of actions to adapt to climate change to help us with the challenges to come.

Our climate adaptation work programme builds on its Resilience Strategy. Over the past few years, actions have been implemented to reduce exposure to climate risks including:

  • improvements to stormwater infrastructure
  • maintenance of seawalls
  • better access to information about future risks
  • community engagement with high-risk communities to begin planning for climate change.

We've also recently updated research to better understand the risks and hazards associated with climate change locally.

See our Proposed District Plan for more information about how climate change risks will be considered in future planning decisions for Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.

Next steps

Next steps involve a regional approach working alongside other local authorities and mana whenua in the region and include the  Central Government to ensure we have a consistent approach to adaptation. This will be fed into the Regional Growth Framework and the initial stage involves assessing the impacts, to then develop a regional adaptation plan.


What the Government is doing to support adaptation

Central Government is planning significant changes to the legal and policy framework to support adaptation to the impacts of climate change in New Zealand.

The most significant of these is the Climate Adaptation Act which will be introduced as a bill.

Progress is also underway on the National Adaptation Plan, which is a response to the National Climate Change Risk Assessment. The legislation and the plan will be key to providing local authorities with the powers and guidance necessary to ensure a robust response.

Visit the Ministry for the Environment website to find out more about climate change adaptation at the national level.


What you can do

As our plan for adaptation evolves, Wellingtonians will have a chance to share their ideas and give feedback.

Your voice will be essential throughout this process so make sure you sign up to Kōrero Mai Let's Talk to receive notifications.

Visit Action area: Wellington City Council