How are we responding to climate change?

Adapting to the changing environment

As Australia’s largest water utility, we need to be ready for the challenges that climate change brings and reduce our impact on the environment. How we respond and adapt can also bring opportunities to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations.

Through our Climate Change Adaption Program, we are continuing a number of research projects to build a picture of how the climate will be in the future and to improve our ability to adapt.

In 2011, we helped fund the NSW and ACT Regional Climate Model (NARCliM) project led by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH). We will use the model’s climate projections to plan how we manage:

  • bushfires, storms and other extreme events

  • water and energy supply

  • urban growth

  • biodiversity.

Results from the project will be available to the public in 2014.

Being resilient to a changing climate isn’t just about us. We rely on a broad range of people and organisations, and we need their input to deliver effective climate change solutions.

Water, electricity and telecommunications services rely on each other to operate, so there is a collective risk when any utility is affected by an emergency. We continue to learn about how climate change may disrupt electricity and telecommunications networks through the Australian Government’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Modelling and Analysis (CIPMA) program.

So far, CIPMA has delivered hazard maps that we can use to see how vulnerable our assets are to rising sea levels, storms, wind and bushfires. We are also developing a tool, called AdaptWater, to help us weigh up various adaptation options (see case study next page).

Image of Balmain Wharf during a king tide

The Regional Climate Model project will help us manage climate change and improve our ability to adapt.