Wild weather

Written By: - Date published: 6:22 am, May 15th, 2015 - 46 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, food, global warming - Tags: , , ,

All the best to those coping with the wild weather or its aftermath.

With talk of Wellington being “cut off” some are using it as an excuse to politic over Transmission Gully, but there’s nothing that we can build that isn’t vulnerable to nature.

With extreme weather events set to increase in frequency and power, the sensible thing to do would be to take immediate action to reduce the causes of climate change. But you will not hear this point made in any of the media coverage of the latest storms.

46 comments on “Wild weather”

  1. Paul 1

    And will the MSM actually use the term ‘climate change’ whilst reporting this?

    • Maui 1.1

      That’s the last thing they want to say, don’t talk about stuff that would inhibit the capitalist regime. TV1 news I think has 3 different spots to talk about weather in their news hour, and I don’t I can ever remember them relating the weather to climate change.

      • esoteric pineapples 1.1.1

        Yes, they talk about the upcoming weather report, then do a report on the weather we have had, and later on do a report on the weather we are going to have. It’s called holding the viewer long enough to get as much advertising revenue as possible.

    • mary_a 1.2

      @ Paul

      NO! Because admitting the reality of climate change is likely to interfere with the almighty game of profit at the end of the day!

  2. The Chairman 2

    Capital’s insufficient infrastructure highlighted by wild weather

    Kilbirnie Cres resident Niru Patel said the street flooded every time there was heavy rain for an hour or more. And it had been the case since 1993.

    Council spokesman Richard MacLean said Wellington’s drainage system was constantly being upgraded, but there was a limit to what it could do without “breaking the bank”

    Newtown Residents’ Association president Claire Pettigrew said the council needed to look at its spending priorities.

    “It is unfair for the council to say that there’s a limit to what it could do to reduce the frequent flooding that has an impact on residents’ and businesses without ‘breaking the bank’ when they are proposing investing ratepayer funds in things like additional convention centres and museums.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/68081391/no-quick-fix-for-wellingtons-floodprone-spots.html

    Thoughts?

    • Paul 2.1

      We need to plan ahead for more regular extreme weather events.

      • The Chairman 2.1.1

        One would like to think councils do.

        But seeing as a street in the Capital has been flooded (every time there was heavy rain for an hour or more) and it has been going on from as far back as 1993, one has to question their priorities.

        How much chaos and cost could have been avoided if we had better drainage in place?

        • dukeofurl 2.1.1.1

          ‘Every time there was HEAVY rain”- Sounds like the drainage system is doing what it is supposed to do.

          The standard urban design for stormwater is at the 20% peak storm , sometimes called a 1 in 5 year storm.

          That sounds like every time there is heavy rain to me.

          The real problem for urban areas is intensification, more roofs and driveways etc. This leads to more runoff directly to the stormwater system.

          The usual answer to this is things like retention tanks for householders and business to slow down the roof runoff. They are like smaller water tanks but they have a restricted outlet to let the roof flow much lower rate.

          So theres your answer Newtown, get to work

        • dukeofurl 2.1.1.2

          The standard urban design for stormwater is at the 20% peak storm , sometimes called a 1 in 5 year storm.

          That sounds like every time there is heavy rain to me.

          The real problem for urban areas is intensification, more roofs and driveways etc. This leads to more runoff directly to the stormwater system.
          The usual answer to this is things like retention tanks for householders and business to slow down the roof runoff. They are like smaller water tanks but they have a restricted outlet to let the roof flow much lower rate.

          So theres your answer Newtown, get to work

        • Maui 2.1.1.3

          I would say there’s little we can do now. We’ve covered the landscape with hard surfaces like tarseal roads, concrete driveways & footpaths, pavers and tin roofs for decades, and with increasing amounts of it. None of that water has a chance to drain into the ground and it has to go somewhere. We’ve built in places that we probably shouldn’t have too.

          I was near the Hutt river yesterday where a stream feeds into it. I watched as a digger had to continuously scoop out debris from infront of a grate leading into a culvert. Out the other side of the culvert, the river was so high the water couldn’t escape properly and looked like it was boiling on the top.

          • The Chairman 2.1.1.3.1

            There is plenty we are able and require to do.

            Upgrades are constantly taking place. However, in this instance ratepayers have been waiting (putting up with flooding whenever there is an hour or more of hard rain) for improvements for over 20 years.

        • dukeofurl 2.1.1.4

          That is the normal design standard for stormwater drains, for 20% of the peak storm, sometime called once every 20 years.
          Whats probably changed is intensification with more driveways and roofs etc and the answer is detention tanks for roof runoff.

          Get to work Newtown

    • Sabine 2.2

      we need more convention centres and museums and gambling places and and and, we know that. really.

      flood protection? thats for wussies, and the lunatic green fringe.

      Infrastructure it’s just not sexy.

      and who ever thougth that in the age of rising sea levels it would make sense to have the only railway and the only motorway going in to the city right next to the beach strip is a moron and should go back to school and take some environmental studies.

      At some stage, i expect those that studied stuff like urban planning, and engineering and architecture and stuff to actually say something and do something that would mitigate the effect storms will have on our lives.
      Banana Republic.

      • Molly 2.2.1

        “At some stage, i expect those that studied stuff like urban planning, and engineering and architecture and stuff to actually say something and do something that would mitigate the effect storms will have on our lives.”

        In the course of volunteer work I was doing – I met the current planning head of the Unitary Plan in Auckland, along with another senior planner.

        A few years ago now, just after the amalgamation, but both looked at me with a mixture of pity and distaste after I asked what proposals had been put in place to deal with climate change.

        This is in regards to a plan that supposedly looks 30 years ahead.

        No meaningful provisions seem to have been made or accommodated since that time.

        • Pasupial 2.2.1.1

          Molly

          I was at the public consultation for the Otago Regional Council long term plan (30 year) this week. They factor in a SLR of 0.3m – 0.5m over that time, which seems very optimistic. The ORC certainly weren’t keen on increasing rates to cover the preparation for climate change effects. Which will of course cost more in the long run.

          • Macro 2.2.1.1.1

            I guess they base that projection on the Gluckman Policy Paper issued in 2013

            The New Zealand Ministry for the Environment guid-
            ance for local government currently recommends
            that a base level of sea level rise (0.5m relative to
            1980-1999) be considered in planning and decision
            timeframes out to the 2090s. It also indicates that
            the impact of a potentially greater change (0.8m),
            and consideration of local infrastructure and storm
            surge levels should be included in risk assessments.

            http://www.pmcsa.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/New-Zealands-Changing-Climate-and-Oceans-report.pdf (page 12)

            • Pasupial 2.2.1.1.1.1

              That might be it, but they were rather nonspecific about their source for that prediction:

              [section 3.2 page 3] Studies have shown that there will be a possible sea level rise of between 0.3 and 0.5 metres over the next 30 years. Sea level rise may generate additional flooding and drainage risks, particularly for the Taieri and Lower Clutha flood and drainage schemes, which are close to sea level. Council will investigate the effects of sea level rise on agreed levels of service. We believe capital works may be required to mitigate that risk, so that we continue to maintain and provide the agreed levels of service. Investigation works have been budgeted for, and once known, capital budgets will be prepared for any works needed.

              http://forourfuture.orc.govt.nz/pdf/ORC%20LTP%20Infrastructure%20Strategy.pdf

              At the public meeting, the ORC wasn’t any more forthcoming about the specifics of these; “Studies”, nor the timeframe of the investigation.

              The plan as is seems to be to build ever higher floodbanks and pumping stations on the Clutha River which had detailed plans to 2045. The Leith River/ Waters in Dunedin also has plans going out to 2045. The Lower Taieri River schedules consultation on floodbanks in 2018, with plans only to 2025. At Milton, the Tokomairiro River has no Plans beyond 2017 consultation and 2025/30 bridge work. As for anything in coastal Otago north of Dunedin (Waitati, Waikouiti, Palmerston, Moeraki etc), there doesn’t appear to be any plans whatsoever other than letting the ocean take them.

              • Hateatea

                It isn’t just that sea levels will rise but salt water incursion into lagoons, rivers, streams has flow on effect to the flora and fauna that live, eat and breed in these fragile ecosystems. The species that will experience this the most are the indigenous tuna (eel), kokopu, koaro, inanga and many of the wading birds that feed of them. The salt water incursion is already being seen in those areas north of Dunedin but also in many other places along the east coast of Te Wai Pounamu.

                That it will continue to worsen seems inevitable. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment released a report only last year so at least one branch of our civil service is sounding the alarm bells but our politicians at national, regional and local levels are, for the most part, ignoring her.

                http://www.pce.parliament.nz/publications/all-publications/changing-climate-and-rising-seas-understanding-the-science

          • Molly 2.2.1.1.2

            There is some reference to SLR, but as we all know, that only one aspect of climate change.

            In particular infrastructure models such as stormwater and sewage, needs to cope with increased frequent deluges. The simple act of allowing housing that requires private transportation for residents, contributes to ongoing difficulties in the years ahead. Making planning about streamlining consents for the conventional housing types that have average life-spans of 35 years, and don’t take into account the resource wastage of this approach…

            Given the increasingly negative outlook, the planners are in an optimal position to put down a new attitude to development and lifestyles, and I would be heartened to see that manifest in NZ. I don’t have high expectations that it will however.

      • Pasupial 2.2.2

        Sabine

        I’ve been mulling over these maps recently:

        http://www.musther.net/nzslr/Maps/Local/10mSLR-Wellington.jpg
        http://www.musther.net/nzslr/index.html#interactive

        The Wellington map shows the 10m sea level rise that is possible this century if marine methane is released leading to rapid temperature rises and consequent ice-sheet collapse. There’s no key, but the railway seems to be the alternating blue and white lines (electrified lines?) to Upper Hutt and Waikanae where it turns dark blue.

        Land routes seem likely to be severed at Porirua and Petone. The ferry terminal looks set to be submerged if not relocated, and the airport may not be usable either. At that, Wellington gets off relatively lightly (thanks to the hills), compared to; Christchurch, Invercargill & Blenheim (I tend to focus on the South – Napier is not looking too habitable in this scenario either).

        Sea level rise definitely needs to be addressed by the country’s infrastructure planners.

        • Sabine 2.2.2.1

          when it happens, not if, when it happens there will be a lot of unhappy campers, with their multi million dollar homes and batches that are either directly being washed out, or washed down a hill due to landslides.

          In saying that, when next in auckland on the road to the famous bridge to the northshore, look up to your left and see the houses precariously clingling to their hills. And look at the new motorway for west auckland …they raised it a bit, but will it be enough?

          It seems to me that the term Kiwi Ingenuity and Do it Yourself will be much en vogue again in about 20 – 30 years, if we have that long. Cause the government won’t be here to help you, or me or anyone but themselves.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      This is why the budget for councils needs to be fully democratic. When people vote for what council funds should be spent on then a) they don’t get to complain about how high the rates are and b) stuff that they don’t want such as convention centres won’t get any funding.

      • Macro 2.3.1

        hmmmm not so sure about that Draco – have recently visited the States where essentially what you propose is just what they do! Surprising how many don’t want to vote money for schools and roading (just the bit outside their house!). My cousin in Ohio was lamenting the fact that public schools are so poorly funded as a result.

        • Colonial Rawshark 2.3.1.1

          Yep. In many communities, libertarian right wing philosophy has taken a strong hold. These people would vote directly against their own best interests. The classic are photos of old people on walking frames at Tea Party rallies denouncing the unaffordability of Medicare and demanding cuts. Their walking frames provided by Medicare.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.3.1.2

          IMO, such comes about from lack of information. Democracy needs to be more than just voting, it needs to be engagement. So people get access to the information to make the decisions as well as the ability to vote on those decisions. Part of that information will be about how not helping others negatively affects them.

          And as I don’t think that we should just go to full democracy at all levels we ease into it. Start at the ward level and build up.

          • Molly 2.3.1.2.1

            +100. Grassroots engagement that informs and promotes discussion.

            I think that the Yes movement in Scotland, was the reason SNP took so many votes. The voters in Scotland are informed now in a way that has long been missing from political discussions. They are less likely to be influenced by rhetoric and MSM bias, and will demand accountability (in the old dictionary sense of the word, not the current crop of unspeak))

  3. RBG 3

    We should be hearing ‘these weather events are consistent with what we can expect as a result of climate change’. We are told about the huge amount of rain that has fallen, but not that a warmer atmosphere holds more water.

  4. Ron 4

    One would think that Wellington would be spending on basic infrastructure such as roads before they decide to waste 40+ million dollars just so they can get rid of the Trolley Bus fleet.

  5. jenny kirk 5

    oh – by the way – apparently the government is running a series of public meetings on climate change this week – and next. Auckland on Monday, Wellington on Tuesday – that is, if the flooding has gone down. Not much in the way of advertising these so-called public meetings – last night it was in Whangarei at 5.30pm – we heard about it at 6.30pm – a notice on FB !
    Does anyone know anyone who has gone to any of these so-called public meetings, let alone heard about them ? ? ?

    • adam 5.1

      NO and please Jenny where in Auckland – you would hope at least 4 in Auckland – but I won’t hold my breath.

      Yeap usual approach from Wellington – One meeting auckland – hence auckland covered.

        • adam 5.1.1.1

          Yeap it’s a big bugger off – to Auckland and Aucklanders with this one.

          This government is pathetic – It takes more time to get across town some days than it does to drive from Dunedin to Invercargill – and yet they only hold one meeting to cover almost a 1/3 of the population and call it a consultation.

          This is offensive. Narrow minded and in the beltway, and/or anti-auckland – or maybe they are just are that dumb.

          Over a one million people. and one tiny meeting in the centre of town – at snobs villa, and they think that is consultation. This is just another example of a National government in this country with complete disregard for people – utter disregard. We may as well be chopped liver, for all they care.

          Just more right wing Political Correctness. Funny how that make me feeling like I’ve just been sold something dodgy.

    • This in email from Gareth Hughes yesterday:
      “Green supporters in Nelson and Gisborne came out in force yesterday to demand a climate plan that New Zealanders can be proud of.

      Last week, after public pressure, the Government announced a series of public meetings to talk about what New Zealand’s climate target should be.

      Our well-informed group navigated a poorly-managed Government consultation process, riddled with excuses for inaction, to demonstrate overwhelming support for ambitious measures to tackle climate change.

      We have had a great start, now we need to make sure the message for action on climate change is heard at every meeting around the country.

      Find a public meeting near you. 

      Yesterday’s meetings were an embarrassing start for the Government as officials were forced to apologise for the poor publicity of their meetings.

      Less than a week’s notice was given for the first set of events, which are only running from 13 until 21 May.

      Take this chance to let the Government know you support an ambitious plan to tackle climate change. RSVP to attend a public meeting”

      • weka 5.2.1

        Wow, two meetings in the South Island. Two. Some big gaps up north too looking at the map.

  6. Joe Jones 6

    It’s all John Key’s fault

    • adam 6.1

      Wow, that really is pathetic trolling.

      Next you’ll be saying. I’m not a scientist so I can’t make policy on this.

  7. swordfish 7

    Cheers, Anthony. I think we probably got the worst of it here in the People’s Republic of Porirua. Mayhem at Midday, yesterday. Weird, because although it was preceded by thunder and lightning, it really didn’t feel like the kind of torrential downpour that’d cause this sort of flash-flooding.

  8. mary_a 8

    The money being spent to decide a new flag design for NZ, could go some way towards replacing or upgrading the nation’s existing weakening infrastructure to cope with the ever increasing challenges of climate change!

    The silence of government yesterday, when our capital city’s infrastructure and services were struggling as the result of some pretty ferocious weather, was deafening!

    It could be said Key fiddled, while the good folk of the Wellington region were drowning!

  9. aerobubble 9

    Is govt promising that transmission gully wont get slips or be blocked in an earthquake, because that’s what a commenter implied when they said if only trans gully had been built.

    • b waghorn 9.1

      Transmission gulley will be built on land that is part of planet key as soon as you enter transmission gulley the sun will come out and you will actually here angels sing. There are no slips or earthquakes in planet key.

    • Maui 9.2

      Transmission Gully is going to have something in the order of 25 bridges on it! So it could well be the most stuffed route in and out of Wellington.

      • aerobubble 9.2.1

        Cry-key. Media commenariat again, stuff an nonsense passes as comment.

        Wellington is a great place for a fortress that is hard to attack from land.

  10. Guy McPherson’s latest talk and Q&A


    Transmission Gully? our Moai ?

    • johnm 10.1

      Hi RA

      Yes, it’s strange. I’m 66 unmarried no children maybe only another 9 years to my personal nthe yet I find this message devastating it sort of freaks me out a bit. People deny just so they can keep effective in everyday life, it’s human nature. I know you despise that but there’s naught we can do now it’s set to play out.

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