Facts & Figures

  • 0.6−1.1mProjected sea level rise

  • 700haExpansion of Town Belt in past 20 years

During this century, according to scientific modelling, climate change is likely to have an increasingly significant impact on Wellington and other coastal cities.

Damage to Island Bay Seawall

The sea level is predicted to rise by somewhere between 60cm and 1.1 metres. With it, the water table could rise. Potential impacts include erosion and inundation of low-lying coastal land, damage to infrastructure and building foundations, increased flood risks, and increased risks of liquefaction in the event of an earthquake.

A warming climate is also likely to make severe storms more frequent, bringing risks of property and infrastructure damage.

Initial modelling suggests that a 60cm-1.1m sea level rise would mainly affect a small number of coastal areas. Nonetheless, the impact could be significant.

One of the most important tasks facing the Council is to prepare the city for these impacts. We will have to make decisions, for example, about whether coastal land needs to be protected by sea walls, or changes are needed to the stormwater system or other infrastructure.

The first step is to understand the possible impacts, and the measures that can be taken to reduce or mitigate those impacts. Over the next three years, we will:

  • develop a hydraulic model to assess the impact of increased storm intensity and rising sea levels on the stormwater network, so we can make sensible decisions about land use, building and infrastructure
  • review District Plan provisions for areas that might be vulnerable to rising sea levels.


  • Protect people and property from adverse effects.
  • Better understanding of potential impacts from climate change, allowing better decisions.


  • The city is making progress towards mitigating its contribution to carbon. Examples include: the highest use of public transport per head of population in Australasia; low energy usage and secure renewable energy sources, with wind farms in the city’s boundaries that generate sufficient power for 100 precent of residential needs; an expansion of the Town Belt by more than 700 hectares over the past two decades; and planning rules that aim to reduce the costs and impacts associated with sprawl.
  • More can be done. We propose to extend our contribution to Enviro-schools and our award winning Smart Energy Challenge. We will also review our Climate Change Action Plan and secure independent accreditation from CEMARS to benchmark our work.

What you think

58% Feedback received that supports our overall plan

24 Number of times people have told us what they think about this idea

100% Feedback received that supports this idea

#24 Out of 28 ideas based on amount of feedback received.

Who would benefit most?

27% Local residents
25% Future generations
20% Local businesses
14% Visitors to Wellington
13% NZ as a whole
  • Local residents
  • Local businesses
  • Visitors to Wellington
  • NZ as a whole
  • Future generations
  • Other

How should we prioritise it?

50% High
29% Quite high
21% Neutral
  • Quite low
  • Low
  • Neutral
  • Quite high
  • High
  • Anthony, Brooklyn

    I know nothing about hydraulic modelling. My concern is that we achieve zero emissions with genuine cuts before mid century. That will require education towards public understanding of the issues, plus probably legislation and funding of initiatives.

  • Bill, Ngaio

    This is good stuff. Pleased that the focus on infrastructure and regulation and not about support for private property.

  • Paul, Brooklyn

    This is a sensible approach. Sea level rise is inevitable but I'm pleased that the council's not leaping to fix it. Study the problem and working out what to do is the right approach (for now).

  • Carroll, Wadestown

    Whatever it takes to understand the impact of climate change, rising sea levels and predicted continuing extreme weather patterns (violent storms) I agree with. However, because the region is surrounded on three sides by coastal waters, I think this something that needs to be addressed regionally, in conjunction with local areas. I consider this to be a priority and vital function of of local/regional government. It also needs to attract maximum support from central government too.

  • Jos, Kelburn

    This should be a national coordinated initiative as rising sea levels will affect every coastal area. The Council should also include other likely climate change effects, such a higher peak wind strengths, rainfall variation, etc. and conduct a wider risk analysis and impact assessment on the natural and built environment. Increasing peak wind strength may have a quicker and more devastating impact on Wellington.