Waves breaking over Woolongong breakwater; Waves breaking over Woolongong breakwater;

Climate Change Adaptation of Water Infrastructure NSW, Sydney

Assessing climate change impact on water infrastructure

Climate change will have a significant impact on the practices and strategies through which organisations manage their interconnected water infrastructure. From rising sea levels to altered rainfall patterns and increased storm intensity, it is clear that there needs to be a plan in place to cope.

Funded by the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, we developed the framework by which adaptation options could be assessed. We used five case studies in Sydney to identify and evaluate relevant approaches and the associated economics.

Our interactive framework guides water infrastructure managers through the process of producing a flexible adaptation plan. One that addresses the challenges of interconnected assets and management. It helps them be more adaptive rather than responsive, acting before impacts occur.

We assessed existing and future risk to assets, identifying potential adaptation options and barriers, including engineering, managerial, legislative and corporate to develop a flexible adaptation pathway.

Case studies included Sydney’s central business district, Green Square, Cooks River, Wollongong and Berry Creek.

We collaborated with government and utilities to investigate impacts of climate change on water infrastructure.