Ironic, isn’t it?!
Mostly we think of climate change as meaning hotter, drier … drought even.
Yet today the Government announced $19.2 million in ‘climate resilience’ funding coming to Hawke’s Bay for four flood protection programmes:
- Heretaunga Plains Flood Control Scheme – Tutaekuri, Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers areas, where 80 per cent of the population live;
- Wairoa River Scheme – Ferry Road flood protection;
- Upper Tukituki Flood Control Scheme near State Highway 50 Bridge to protect bridge;
- Upper Tukituki Flood Control Scheme – stalled through lack of funds.
The weather dynamics behind this heightened risk do stem from greater heat — causing more water evaporation from our surrounding warmer waters, more heavily water-laden clouds, more intense rainstorms … even cyclones.
Cyclones worse than Hawke’s Bay’s legendary 1988 Cyclone Bola, with these results in our region:
- Flooding affected some 3600 hectares of farming and horticultural land, with the associated losses estimated at $90 million.
- 1765 farmers were affected by damage to their land and crops and stock losses. Cyclone Bola hit some areas just as harvesting was about to start.
- Repairs to Gisborne’s water supply cost an estimated $6.6 million. Damage to East Coast forests was estimated at $8.6 million.
- Insurance payouts for the whole event totalled $37 million ($63 M in 2008 dollars), excluding Earthquake Commission claims .
As our regional Civil Defence website notes, “floods and storms are the most frequent hazard in Hawke’s Bay”. Here’s their discussion of the risks.
Does climate change have your attention yet?! Do you think our councils are doing enough to prepare?
Photo credit: Hawke’s Bay Knowledge Bank