We can already see the impacts of climate change, both globally and locally. Some changes are gradual, while others are sudden events.
The severe weather event of 2015, which saw 20 Kāpiti homes evacuated, schools and transport links closed, and significant slips and flooding, is an example of the kinds of events we can expect to see more of in coming years.
Scientific reports identify a range of changes that are likely to impact our district.
Increasing average annual temperature
The average annual temperature will increase up to 1°C by 2040, and further increase by up to 2.7°C by 2090.
We will experience more hot days (>25°C) per year, and see fewer frosts.
Rainfall will vary across the district but overall the Kāpiti Coast is expected to have slightly more total rainfall each year.
The amount of rain that falls during extreme rain events will increase.
Occasional drought conditions
While total rainfall and rain
intensity are projected to
increase overall, these changes are not consistent throughout the year. At times, the district may experience drought, and the average amount of water in rivers during times of low flow will decrease.
Stronger and more frequent wind
Stronger and more frequent winds will become a feature of living on the Kāpiti Coast.
Rising sea levels
NIWA and GWRC tidal gauge records show that mean sea level has already increased since 1953, and further rises are predicted.
Climate change impacts
Changing how and where we live
Transitions to low emissions living will change where and how we live and work.
Natural hazards might threaten residents, businesses, and wāhi tapu sites, while changing weather might disturb food growing and gathering. Any of these disruptions could impact on our social, cultural and economic wellbeing.
Climate change will impact environmental wellbeing. The Kāpiti Coast is already experiencing incursions of non-native plants and insects due to warmer temperatures.
Increasing coastal erosion
Increased rain, winds, storms and sea-level rise will lead to more erosion and flooding along the coast.
Increasing flooding risks
Increases in total rainfall, rainfall intensity, and rising groundwater will mean more flooding risks.
To adapt to climate change, we need to anticipate and plan for these kinds of impacts and, in some instances, change where and how we live, work and play. We need to build resilience so the impact is less.
Under the Resource Management Act 1991, Council must:
- consider the effects of a changing climate on communities
- take actions to minimise any disruptions from climate change to council activities and services
- support the community to improve its resilience and sustainability in the face of the climate change emergency.
To learn more about what Council is doing, see What we're doing.
To learn more about climate change and its impacts for New Zealand, watch the short videos below.
Climate change explained in under 2 minutes from Climate-KIC on Youtube.
Climate change impacts for New Zealand from NIWA on Vimeo.
Severe weather event
In May 2015, Kāpiti received twice the average rainfall for a month in just one day. A total of 143.6mm of rain fell in 24 hours on May 14, compared to an average of 78mm normally for May.
More than 20 residents were evacuated from their homes.
Links to Wellington were cut off; trains ground to a halt, buses stopped and roads were blocked. Otaki Gorge Road and Waterfall Rd were closed due to slips; and Valley Rd, Maungakotukutuku Rd and Matatua Road were closed due to flooding or flood damage.
At the peak of the flooding, Council’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was activated and 50 staff and volunteers coordinated the response. Council depot staff were helped in the field by 55 staff from contractor Goodmans, who helped with sandbags. Downer had 50–60 staff helping out, including crews from Levin and Porirua. Staff from the Mackays to Peka Peka (M2PP) Alliance, building the Kāpiti Expressway, were also on hand to lend a hand.