Modelling for an uncertain water future

Access to quality data to identify future climate risk is vital if communities in Aotearoa New Zealand are to cope with the challenges of our rapidly changing climate.

Around 70 modellers are meeting in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington for the two-day Water New Zealand Modelling Symposium 2023 (15-17 March) to discuss latest developments in how data modelling can assess and manage risk.

Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe says accurate data modelling helps identify and increase the understanding of solutions around water quality, droughts, flooding as well as the wider water environment.

“We need to be able to plan better, increase our understanding and ensure a more consistent national approach to modelling and mapping climate change and risks.”

She says this summer has shown the devastation caused by extreme weather and flooding and the need for more planning and information around risks to communities in different regions.

“Accurate data modelling will be a key tool to create predictive models of future climate patterns and allow us to take a more future focused approach to planning and development.

“We need to be able to predict how often storms are likely to occur, how more frequent and longer droughts will affect drinking water supply, how big these weather events are likely to be and how we can design smart, resilient infrastructure and cities to cope.

“We also need to be able to identify hazard areas to inform both location and the design of future developments and infrastructure as well as areas that will require higher levels of adaptation or managed retreat.”

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