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Climate change, weather bombs, and the infrastructure that we need

Written By: - Date published: 10:23 am, March 12th, 2017 - 62 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, global warming, water - Tags: , , , ,

Best wishes to all those coping with the floods up north.

To state the bleeding obvious, events like this fit a classic climate change pattern, and we can expect more of them. Climate change is here, now.

The current floods have showed up real weaknesses in the capacity of Auckland’s fresh water supply system. Despite warnings, Aucklanders are not saving enough water and will probably soon need to boil drinking water. This issue may persist until the “end of the month”. The effects of climate change are here, now.

We should be preparing. As well as doing everything we can to cut emissions, We should be hardening our critical infrastructure. Like – Auckland’s water supply. Instead of building – you know – more roads.

62 comments on “Climate change, weather bombs, and the infrastructure that we need”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Despite warnings, Aucklanders are not saving enough water and will probably soon need to boil drinking water.

    Which Aucklanders?

    Because I can assure you, I’m not using 300 litres a day of water.

    I suspect the real users aren’t doing anything about reducing water use because doing so will cut into their profits. If I’m right then the health of our largest city is being put at risk because of business.

    • How do you feel about those not saving water or using too much? I suspect many doing that either think they’ll buy their way out – of this crisis and CC in general or they just cannot cram the information into their already full heads – and those heads are full of useless information when compared with thinking about what happens when the water is unthinkably undrinkable.

      • dukeofurl 1.1.1

        There is no chance of the water being undrinkable, its just the colour might be a bit darker

        • marty mars 1.1.1.1

          No chance? That is idiotic, you can’t say that or even anything close to it.

          • dukeofurl 1.1.1.1.1

            How is your claim substantiated ? Do you live in such a cotton wool world that you only drink deep spring water untouched by human processes.
            Try getting roof tank water sometimes

            Odd coloured water but drinkable is common in Australia.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1.1

              How is your claim substantiated ?

              Because there’s always a chance even when things are working as expected. Things presently aren’t working as expected.

            • marty mars 1.1.1.1.1.2

              We aren’t in oz mate.

              I drink roof water, tank water, creek water and aquifer water. hell ill even drink townie water sometimes. The colour is just one aspect and city water is vulnerable to all sorts of unwanted issues that could lead up to and include making the water undrinkable – or did I just imagine the Havelock north shit drinking? Do you 100% guarantee that couldn’t happen to a big city? Oh course not – it is impossible to be true saying that.

              I hope the water gets cleaner or at least just stays brown and tastes like ??? and nothing else causes some cascading effect – like additional heavy rain, lack of water saving, breakdown of equipment, accidental or deliberate contamination and so on…

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        How do you feel about those not saving water or using too much?

        That’s going to depend upon who it is. Those businesses, those who are using the most water, not reducing then they really need some comeuppance.

        Personal use should be reduced but health should be maintained as well.

    • Red Hand 1.2

      Bottled water and water based drinks for local consumption and export.
      https://ccamatil.co.nz/
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/79431619/pressure-on-water-bottlers-to-pay

      The consumer is paying for the plastic bottle as well as the drink. Some is put in a wheelie bin out of site and out of mind and a lot ends up on road and track sides and along the shore.
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11444998

      An essential ingredient for life is taken from a source that should belong to all living beings, ourselves included so people can pay for it and drink it from a plastic bottle courtesy of the oil industry.
      https://www.reference.com/home-garden/plastic-come-3280280930838df

      Then the discarded plastic has adverse environmental effects and some plastics damage health in their manufacture and usage.
      http://ecologycenter.org/plastics/ptf/report3/
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3791860/

    • Carolyn_nth 1.3

      When watercare started giving advice on saving water, I laughed. Because all the things they recommended to save water I already do – because cost of water rates.

      Who leaves the tap running while brushing their teeth?

      Although, I’ve never been able to shower in 2 minutes, and I don’t linger. Best can do is 4-5 minutes, especially when washing my hair.

      Not sure how I can save anymore water, unless I stop washing my clothes and sheets.

      But, I also read that Aucklanders already use less water than in other parts of the country.

      So it must be wealthy people who aren’t bothered about paying high water rates who are using all Auckland’s water!

      I always boil drinking water. I have long not liked the taste of Auckland tap water.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1

        So it must be wealthy people who aren’t bothered about paying high water rates who are using all Auckland’s water!

        Yep, that’s pretty much the way I figure it as well. That and businesses that make a profit from the use of water.

        Those of us who have to watch every sent already try to keep water use down.

        IMO, the fact that some people feel that it doesn’t matter how much something costs and that they can simply throw it away because the cost doesn’t matter to them proves that some of us are simply paid too much.

        • marty mars 1.3.1.1

          Is it more some industry processes than personal use? I just can’t imagine a non water caring rich aucklander could use that much water even if they emptied and filled the pool every week. I could be out of touch with that particular societal grouping though ☺

      • Anne 1.3.2

        Who leaves the tap running while brushing their teeth?

        I do. 😳 I try to remember not to but old habits (especially when they’re really old) die hard.

        We don’t have to wash our cars any more. Just leave it outside for half a day in the frequent tropical deluges and hey presto… the car’s shining like a new pin. I did [briefly] consider only showering every other day but thought that would be a bit tough on my fellow Aucklanders.

        • Whispering Kate 1.3.2.1

          The reason the two of us in this household conserve water is not that we can’t afford it – just the fact we resent paying out to the bottomless pit of a Super City who never prioritise the precious hard earned rate money which comes in each year. When they prattle on about sports stadiums ad nauseum and the water treatment plants are failing in bad weather, berms are shoulder high with tall grass ready to go up in flames next time we get drought conditions, street trees which are not kept under control and the crowns kept under control and are ready to topple down, annual rate rises – everything has gone to the dogs since the Super City was born. It’ no wonder we don’t want to give them any more money than we have to. Too many overseas junkets. paying out for contractors and rorting of council funds.

          Yes, we want to help to conserve and we do by catching water off the roof, if we take a bath, we put it on the garden and we manage to keep our watercare bill down to the lower side of a household of one. I pity poor parents of kids who sit in the shower contemplating their navels – here in Auckland it will be bankrupting them with the price of the water coming in and the grey water going out of the household each day.

  2. Tautoko Mangō Mata 2

    Climate change?? Does National Government care? About money, yes. Climate change is for future governments to worry about, it seems.

    1. The New Zealand Petroleum Conference 2017 (21-23 March in New Plymouth will feature the Government’s launch of Block Offer 2017 – the exclusive tender for exploration permits.

    New Zealand’s upstream petroleum industry has the potential to experience strong growth over the coming years. The country is attracting strong international attention with exploration activities underway in a number of the country’s 17 sedimentary basins, with general agreement there is strong potential for hydrocarbon deposits.

    With a supportive regulatory regime, strong economy, and stable political environment, the time is right to learn more about the opportunities that exist in New Zealand’s oil and gas industry.

    http://www.petroleumconference.nz/

    Block Offer annual exploration permit tender process:

    The New Zealand Government allocates petroleum exploration permits in an annual tender called a ‘Block Offer’.

    New Zealand has run annual Block Offers since 2012.

    https://www.nzpam.govt.nz/permits/petroleum/block-offer/

    Naturally, people want to protest against the deliberately irresponsible act of allowing further oil and gas exploration by the government, so……

    Potential protests at a petroleum conference have police worried enough to apply to close part of New Plymouth’s main street for two days.

    The police and the New Plymouth District Council have applied to close roads around the venue of the annual New Zealand Petroleum Conference that is expected to be attended by hundreds of industry delegates from around the world.

    Greenpeace leader Russell Norman said last month the organisation planned to protest outside the conference, which is being held in New Plymouth for the first time from March 21-23.

    http://i.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/90094214/police-apply-for-road-closure-anticipating-protest-trouble-at-petroleum-conference

    Disappointingly there was no reference to the NZ Govt block offer in the Stuff article. More people need to be made aware of this callous disregard by the National Government for the future of our younger members of the population.

  3. weka 3

    Russell Brown‏ @publicaddress 4m4 minutes ago

    There’s a drinking water crisis in Auckland and Watercare has no social media presence and can’t update its website outside working hours.

    Russell Brown‏ @publicaddress 2m2 minutes ago

    And it’s not as if this absurd shortcoming hasn’t been pointed out to them. #rpt

    • dukeofurl 3.1

      Watercare is a notoriously aloof and distant organisation, and thats with people they have to deal with. The general public ? Who are they

    • Ad 3.2

      Watergate are going to get a caning for their comms. As they should. Hell even AT and NZTA can do weekend updates.

      But it’s Auckland Council itself that should be getting the hammering as they – not Watercare -are directly responsible for stormwater readiness.

      We’ve just had 2 water supply pipes blow here in Titrangi so our water is off until 3.

      • dukeofurl 3.2.1

        Stormwater readiness ?

        Different issue to freshwater supply.

        Stormwater pipes are designed to overflow in heavy rain. Council allows overland flow paths for that very purpose

        Ad you should be worried about about a major tropical storm like that which last hit Auckland in the late 20s -early 30s.
        heavy rain caused landslips will make large areas of Waitakaere ranges unlivable for 6 months or more due to shear volume of slips.
        they will take out power, road, water supply ( a lot of Titirangi is on tap water) and sewerage. rebuilding would be a slow expensive task.

        Its Aucklands ticking time bomb

        • Ad 3.2.1.1

          We have a tropical month every year and have had for nearly a decade. Plus, Titirangi gets about +20% more stormwater than most of suburban Auckland.

          The big problem in central Auckland is sewer and stormwater still joined together. In flood this causes sewerage overflows. V bad.

          So the $1.5b Watercare job in design is Central Interceptor to separate most of them out. Completion 2020, and involves a new tunnel under the Manuka u Harbour.

          • dukeofurl 3.2.1.1.1

            I was thinking of the Cyclone Bola equivalent we had back then. For the last 10 years there has been fewer tropical cyclones passing down this way, and usually we only get remnants from those that do. A full cyclone hit would be severe damage.

            From NIWAs records back then
            December 1926

            Comment Heavy floods occurred in Waitemata county.
            Affected Lifeline In the Waitemata county several bridges were washed away. A bridge on the Swanson-Helensville road was under water and roads were impassable due to flood waters.
            Affected Lifeline A broken water pipeline interrupted the water supply to Auckland city.
            Damage Damage occurred to installations and dams.
            The Waitakere Ranges received an estimated 8.00 in (20.3 cm) of rain in 24 hours on the 25th.
            The 200mm + rain in 24 hrs will the one that forces evacuations of 000’s now, back then there would be very few living there and mostly have roof tanks and own sewage system.

            hwe.niwa.co.nz/event/December_1926_Upper_North_Island_Flooding

            • Ad 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Today we had about 300 properties flooded out west today.

              Great North Road in middle of New Lynn was bisected by flood.

              Plus our area of Titirangi has been without fresh water for 7 hours. Main pipe scoured out and broke.

              • dukeofurl

                Council maps show this particular flooded area is a designated flood prone area.
                Seems the ponded area in images matches the predicted one fairly closely

  4. Antoine 4

    > We should be hardening our critical infrastructure. Like – Auckland’s water supply. Instead of building – you know – more roads.

    Without wanting to nit pick, roads _are_ critical infrastructure

    A.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      Not the number that we are building. The holiday highway could have paid for an awful lot of infrastructure.

      • Antoine 4.1.1

        Agreed

      • Ad 4.1.2

        Watercare is funded from local water bills.

        Motorways are paid for largely by petrol and diesel taxes.

        The hypothecation of both provides real focus for both utilities. I wouldn’t change either.

        • dukeofurl 4.1.2.1

          Trouble is it supplies freshwater and then then sewerage disposal.

          The water supply is a very high standard, and the silt in the dams is from a 1 in 100 yr rainfall event in the Clevedon-Hunua area.
          The sewerage overflows into streams and harbours are an every year event and definitely something that needs remedial work.
          I know which should be the priority for Watercare

          • Ad 4.1.2.1.1

            See above.

            I don’t see anything wrong with requiring the Auckland population to respond to major events. Christchurch and Wellington had to. We should.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2.2

          Watercare pays huge dividends to ACC every year.

          • dukeofurl 4.1.2.2.1

            Watercare is prohibited by legislation from paying any dividends. Compare with housing NZ !

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2.2.1.1

              Probably me recalling this:

              The council has ordered Metrowater to provide a dividend of $280 million in the next 10 years. This has forced Metrowater to increase charges from September by 9.6 per cent.

              Auckland City, in its press release, refers to the increase as “charitable payments”. This implies voluntary giving. Metrowater is more honest, talking of Auckland City’s instructions to “deliver to it an increased return on public investment”.

              • dukeofurl

                That was 10 years ago, 2006 and yes the charitable payment was when the City Vision controlled council were skimming the till at Metrowater – a different body.
                I understand it was robbing Peter to pay Paul, water & sewage (which is billed for) was paying for stormwater upgrades( which arent)

                Current Watercare pays no dividend ( it cant) nor charitable payment- so no huge payments every year.

  5. Keith 5

    We need a government who leads in countering climate change, who articulates sensibly and who is committed to taking real action.

    In fact the exact opposite to Nationals pretence and no substance and of course Nick Smith.

  6. Bill 6

    Infrastructure…what we got?

    Well, from roading to housing to water and power infrastructures, we’ve essentially got Victorian era engineering and design for conditions that we no longer face. We need to upgrade, retrofit or replace the whole damned lot.

    And we need to relocate a pile of it. (sea level rise)

    • mauī 6.1

      Personally I think we should discard or just forget about a lot of that old infrastructure. We can’t maintain it properly and we can’t replace it fast enough to deal with whatever the next weather crises coming at us will be.

      People can install rainwater tanks so they can provide their own drinking water. They could also disconnect their roof downpipes to water their (vegetable/food producing) gardens or direct it to ponds for water storage for dry summers. That would reduce the load on overflowing stormwater drains. Switching to composting toilets that can be of use as a source of manure for a local productive crop is another idea.

      I think we will see more of that in the future, a win for self reliance and managing decaying infrastructure.

      • gsays 6.1.1

        I am of the opinion that every new dwelling and major reno, water storage is part of compliance. Petrol/diesel pump, then there is some resilience.

        • Bill 6.1.1.1

          C.C…..the science…petrol/diesel….nah.

          • gsays 6.1.1.1.1

            ok, caravan foot pump.
            tbh, when ‘it’ hits, bugger living on a reticulated water system anyhow.

            • Bill 6.1.1.1.1.1

              I also wouldn’t want to be relying on a reticulated water network…land slips taking out pipes and the need for fossil to pump water to holding tanks in many cases.

              Anyway, I already don’t have reticulated water or sewerage and look on that as being somewhat ahead of the curve.

              Just wish I wasn’t ground by poverty and could afford a couple of solar panels (my average daily use of electricity hovers around 7 or 8 kw)

              • Gsays

                They would want to be bloody big panels to offset 7-8kw.
                Any chance of down sizing yr electric demand?

                • Bill

                  I thought that was already pretty damned low! 🙂

                  But two options would be a wet-back or a passive solar hot water system.

                  I’d guess that would drop usage to about 4 Kw.

                  Beyond that (actually, including that) it’s all financial constraints. Yes, I’d be keen to buy only very energy efficient electrical appliances – eg, fridge, freezer… but what you want and what you can have aren’t always one in the same, aye? 😉

                  • gsays

                    we relocated a whare about 12(!) yrs ago and bit the bullet, and went off-grid- thanks to max bradford and having a couple of mates living off-grid. meaning the initial set-up went on to a mortgage.

                    i have been fortunate to become acquainted to a tame solar h2o installer who did a lot of plumbing work for us. in return for me doing work for him.
                    installed a 1000l marshall hot water cylinder , that does the potable hot water and central heating.

                    with the drop in price of solar panels a couple of years ago, we put more on the roof, now we have an electric jug and toaster. luxury.

                    turn off all appliances that are on standby. that is up to 10% of power consumption.

                    i am off the opinion that if you keep a target or goal in mind, it will come to fruition.

            • weka 6.1.1.1.1.2

              solar pump with a hand/foot pump as back up 🙂

              I live rurally and when there is a power cut I have no water (could probably access the tank if needed drinking water in an emergency). That’s really stupid design.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    This was Henderson just before midday:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bzw1w_mGwiHfSnNySUNuVW5GV2M

  8. ianmac 8

    I read last year that it was about 70 litres per person per day in Auckland. I Bought a 5,000 litre rainwater tank and guessed how long it would last. 300lpppday seems a bit high but I guess it must take in pools gardens etc.

  9. Carolyn_nth 9

    Bloody hell. the centre of New Lynn flooded in the video here!

    I came through there (or rather under there) by train, morning and afternoon today. Didn’t see much water.

    I did see some of the flooding in Henderson around midday.

    • JC 9.1

      Bloody Hell!

      I think your All, (mostly), IGNORING what the Post is about!

      Welcome to the future…

  10. Cinny 10

    Climate Change is here, it’s happening right now, it’s very real, it’s not going away.

    Water conservation is EASY, don’t be greedy, it’s that simple.

    A free resource that some use to make enormous profit from, and the current government allows it to happen. How long will we allow them to do so? No longer I say.

    Our climate has changed and will continue to do so, all life on our planet is dependent on the climate, we need to change the way we do things, we should have already.

    Are we even ready for it? How many more record floods etc do we need to experience until we realise we need to be better prepared for what is coming, for the new weather records. Are our cities ready? Is our country ready?

  11. greywarshark 11

    Shocking pics from New Lynn’s floods. You still around lprent?

    At least someone is thinking intelligently for the future. I saw this piece in one of the reports I was reading.
    Goff said the council needed to urgently look at what could be done to improve the city’s infrastructure for future events.
    He said he believed deforestation was partly to blame for the level of silt in the water supply, and suggested native forest should be replanted in the catchment area.

    • dukeofurl 11.1

      Are they logging in the Hunua catchment area ? I checked the aerial photos and their might be some plantation forest on the northern edges of the Hunuas and the central area. There may be some logging from the way they have been cleared.

  12. greywarshark 12

    Sorry dukeofurl
    Don’t know. I saw the comment and grabbed it as one positive intelligent thing from a politician that I have heard today.

    Why don’t you write to Goff and tell him that you are pleased at his suggestion and ask him about the Hunuas at the same time. You could suggest to him that you could liaison unofficially with him and keep in touch with him about what is happening there! He might be encouraged to take the idea up and not just leave it as a comment. Even better get a group to sign the letter and be a ginger group. You know how these pollies start off on some policy saying that people have been telling me…. and no-one knows who they are, well you could be the ones telling him what he needs to know.

  13. Sorrwerdna 13

    What a load of bollocks – it rained as it has in the past and will in the future -nothing to do with the falsehood that is climate change or is it global warming or is it a funding trough for researchers

    • greywarshark 13.1

      I think our load of bollocks is of higher quality than yours sorry wotsit. We weren’t even focussing on climate change (you seem to have learned some new words lately), but about the well known effect of silting downstream from clear felling further up.

    • ropata 13.3

      Don’t let reality interfere with your igno-rants. Thank God Trump is forcing NOAA and NASA to delete their climate data. Bring back coal!

    • lprent 13.4

      Your statement would have more authority if you’d given up instances of similar events happening in that past.

      Since you haven’t, I consider myself free to call you a lazy lying fuckwit who appears to be too stupid or incompetent to talk on this subject.

      Now prove me wrong – provide evidence for me to specifically dissect (along with your inflated ego) in the way the scientists check their work.

      But you can’t you gormless fuckwit. About aok that you are good for is to clutch your brain and give it a good solid wank.

      😈

      Anyone care to take bets on this fool trying to justify their daft opinion?

      • Sorrwerdna 13.4.1

        I’m picking you used to get punished as a young boy for swearing so now that you are all grown up you feel compelled to overuse it. Very sad.
        Anthropogenic climate change is a crock -the science is not settled.

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