ICNZ welcomes buried problem coming to light

The Insurance Council of New Zealand welcomes the Deep South report out today on climate change and stormwater and wastewater systems which highlights the need for a long term approach to adapting to climate change.

“The report is timely and draws attention to a matter that insurers have been dealing with for many years.  More frequent and extreme weather events will mean stormwater drains will not cope, causing flooding as well as the cascading impacts of sewerage contamination and damage to other infrastructure” said Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton.

“The problem is two-fold, most of our underground infrastructure was built many years ago, well before climate change was even thought of and to cope with far less densely populated urban areas.  Added to this is many local councils around the country either don’t have the resources to invest or they don’t always know the age and state of their underground infrastructure.  It really is a case of out of sight out of mind” he said.

“The new government has signalled a move to have a strong focus on climate change including a long term framework similar to the UK to address climate change challenges.   The report shows we have a major problem because of a combination of sea level rise and rainfall and is a prime example of why we need a long view to manage the risks of our changing climate with a major focus on adaptation” he said.