Water Security or Water Resilience? Climate Resilient Water Management in Wellington New Zealand
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.