Earlier this month, Waitakeres was hit hard by heavy rain and followed by flash floods. The flood killed two local teens who were swimming at the Cascade falls prior to the accident. At least a hundred locals were evacuated during the time.
Unfortunately, similar incidents are likely to occur again. Auckland Council released a research warning the increasing threat of flooding to the area’s housing. The document stated that because of climate change, the probability of “ high intensity rainfall events” will increase. In total, there are around 137,000 buildings in the area that are prone to the damage of flooding. Among them, at least 16,000 infrastructures will be flooded above floor level.
To combat the potential threat of flooding, the Council has established a storm water resource consent application which sets projects to tackle the increased water flow. A risk-based approach has been taken to comprehensively assess and identify the land that might be subject to natural hazard.
Auckland Council’s Head of Strategy and Planning at Auckland Emergency Management Craig Glover warned that “Many of our high priority hazards in Auckland are exacerbated by climate change. Coastal inundation, flooding, superstorms, coastal erosion, land instability rural wildfires and drought … The list goes on and on.”
Niwa’s chief scientist for climate, Sam Dean, stressed that the extreme weather would require us to improve the design of the city. “Those very short duration heavy rainfall events increase that cause flash flooding. And that presents challenges for infrastructure in responding to that,” he said.