Waikato Regional Council has released a report on adapting to climate change, with a focus on drought in the Waikato,
and what might be done to successfully adapt to the risks of an uncertain future.
The report draws on the expertise of a wide range of scientists and practitioners involved in managing our water
resources. The knowledge of these individuals has been woven together to form a ‘map’ of the water system and the
various factors that affect it.
The result is a tool that can enable public discussions and the exploration of options at different locations and scales
to future proof the region from the effects of drought and the challenges of a changing environment.
Climate Action Committee chair Jennifer Nickel said the Waikato economy had evolved in an environment where regular
rainfall meant the plentiful availability of water.
“But we cannot expect the future to be the same. We will need to adapt to changing circumstances.
“We have developed this framework as a tool to help us understand the range of adaptations we could make and so we can
make better policies for our water resources and inform investment decisions.”
Cr Nickel said competition over water resources would intensify with increasing demand and limited supply.
“While agriculture may be the most obvious sector dependent on the availability of water in the Waikato, there is demand
from other areas, too, such as the growing population of the Waikato and Auckland, industry and hydroelectricity … and
we need to consider the ecology of our waterbodies as well.”
Councillor Nickel said the tool was not a silver bullet, but it would help the council and stakeholders/partners plan
for the future with greater confidence.