Flooding is Aotearoa/New Zealand’s most frequent hazard and its impact will only increase under climate change through both more intense rainfall events and sea level rise. We are currently going through a massive flooding infrastructure revamp as well as investing in significant urban development. However we don’t yet have a consistent national understanding of what our flood risk is now – let alone in the future. This makes it difficult to make sound future-proofed decisions in the flooding space that avoid mal-adaptation and ensure a just transition to a more resilient society.
We are just starting a 5-year MBIE funded Endeavour programme, Mā te Haumaru ō te Wai, to bring together Aotearoa-New Zealand’s top flood researchers to remedy this problem. Working together with central and local government, iwi, communities and other stakeholders we will be developing a system to map our flood hazard, both now and in the future; develop systems to understand the risk that flooding poses in different situations and how communities react to those risks; and come up with innovative solutions within policy, planning and market spaces to move Aotearoa/New Zealand to a more resilient state.
Dr Emily Lane is the Programme Leader of the Resilience to Hazards Programme at NIWA Taihoro Nukurangi. She has a background in Applied Mathematics and 2-D hydrodynamic modelling. She has a strong interest in flood inundation (form both terrestrial and coastal sources), the risk it poses to people, property, culture and the environment and how to reduce that risk and create a more resilient Aotearoa/New Zealand.