Climate change is predicted to have varying effects on the regions of New Zealand. The general effects in the eastern regions will be extended drought periods and decreased seasonal rainfall. In contrast, northern regions will likely experience more intense rain and storm events.
The environmental effects of climate change will be extended periods of low base flow during drought in the eastern regions and subsequent stress on aquatic biota. In Auckland effects will be increased flash floods and seawater inundation of freshwater systems, with similar detrimental effects on aquatic species.
Regional and District Plans are starting to give strong direction towards water sensitive design and the requirement to improve the aquatic environment during stormwater management planning. It is likely these statutory requirements will increase in the future. It is difficult to predict what the stormwater industry will be like post 2050 but it is obvious the nuanced effects of climate change will require adaptation and management, we are already seeing some of these effects.
In this paper we look at the likely environmental effects of climate change in two contrasting regions of New Zealand, how these will affect aquatic ecology and the implications for stormwater management. Risks and opportunities to aquatic biota along riparian margins will be discussed, with a multidimensional assessment of climate change impacts on aquatic species and its impact on the water quality in our waterways given. Technical developments and potential tolls for adapting to climate change in New Zealand are also provided.