Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Water Security or Water Resilience? Climate Resilient Water Management in Wellington New Zealand

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posted on 2021-11-12, 00:06 authored by Taptiklis, Nigel

A confluence of factors including population growth, climate change, resource constraints and legacy effects poses significant challenges to the sustainability of cities worldwide. With the deep complexity inherent in socio-ecological systems, 'solutions' sometimes shift the problem in space or time or drive the system in the opposite direction than intended. A case study into climate change adaptation and community resilience in the context of urban water management was undertaken in Wellington, New Zealand, using a 'post normal' science approach. Climate change and water demand scenarios for 2040 and 2090 were analysed using Greater Wellington Water’s 'sustainable yield' model and downscaled general circulation climate model data. Semi-structured interviews and a systems modelling workshop were conducted in order to gain an understanding of the local context for adaptation, resilience and response option selection. With a 20% reduction of aggregate per capita demand and greater storage capacity, Wellington has sufficient water from current sources to smooth increased flow variability due to climate change and to meet increased demand from the projected increase in population. Adaptation pathways and the potential for 'maladaptation' is explored and an integrated framework for optimising urban water resilience developed.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Environmental Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Chapman, Ralph; Reisinger, Andy