‘Globalization is changing the nature of risk. Natural and social systems – from climate to energy, food, water and economies – are tightly coupled. Abrupt changes in one have a domino effect on others. Floods in Thailand in 2011, for example, led to a global shortage of computer hard disks as a result of factories closing, as well as more than US $330 million in damage and around 250 deaths’1.
This paper will seek to share the lessons so painfully learnt across the world over recent years and how unprepared communities, businesses and infrastructure actually is for extreme flood risks and rainfall that seem to be occurring with greater regularity. The author will seek to share that there is a common lack of readiness to effectively managing the evolving risks of today. For example, PwC research has identified that asset management decision making is largely driven by human judgement/decisions – which is looking to be a dangerous tactic in a time of unprecedented uncertainty.
With this in mind, it is obvious we need to take steps to change our approach and become more resilient to uncertainties, particularly against a growing backdrop of asset interconnectedness. The outcome of which is that the flooding impacts are exponentially growing, with the impacts cascading through other infrastructure, in other words, the domino effect.
The paper will showcase how investing in practical resilience measures through to a complete rethink of the approaches to risk, resilience and ongoing planned maintenance can help minimise impacts of these events and keep communities and businesses going.
It is clear that there is the need for a new and comprehensive, long-term strategy to address flood risk across New Zealand, which should seek to encourage everyone to own their risks as much as local and national government.