Helping New Zealand Adapt and Manage Risks in a Changing Climate

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climate adaptation Deep South NZ

Floods are the most frequent, damaging, and disruptive natural hazard that New Zealand faces. Flooding that increased rainfall and rising sea levels cause is expected to increase.

To cope with the increasing flood risk due to climate change, the Deep South Challenge project was created.

The Deep South Challenge is hosted by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and collaboration between Crown Research Institutes, universities, and research providers. Its mission is “to enable New Zealanders to adapt, manage risk and thrive in a changing climate.”

According to the collaborators of the Deep South Challenge, there is a lack of information available to the central and local governments about the exact infrastructure at risk of flooding.

The project has produced two significant research reports: New Zealand’s Coastal Flooding Exposure from sea-level rise; and New Zealand’s Fluvial and Pluvial flood exposure from increased rainfall and river flooding.

Both reports have identified high-risk areas and assets, urgently needed, to help prioritize mitigation and adaptation efforts using flood maps and digital elevation models data collected from the councils across New Zealand.

The Deep South project combines “physical science, predictive climate modelling, and social science,” which makes it unique among other climate research programmes in New Zealand.

This is also a new research approach that will guide the planning and policy-making specifically on the impacts of climate change to the economic sectors, infrastructures, and natural resources.  

The project also collaborates closely with the government, Maori community, and other sectors like business, infrastructure, and industries, as stated on its website.

The Deep South Challenge lists several resources on its website, such as:

  • projects on community vulnerability, adaptation, well-being concerning climate change;
  • climate change effects on agriculture;  
  • insurance access to coastal planning, the cascading or interconnected impacts of extreme weather events to various areas in society;
  • water availability and management;
  • the role of Earthquake Commission (EQC) to increasing climate-related events; the availability or lack of flood mitigation schemes;
  • the risk of sea-level rise and how it is shared; and making robust decision on investment about water in NZ.

The website also contains links to news articles and media coverages of its projects on climate change around New Zealand.

For further information, you may access the website by clicking on the button below:

Source citations:

The Deep South. (n.d.) Retrieved from:

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Glenorchy Lagoon by Karl Hipolito

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