Otago Climate Change Risk Assessment 


Climate affects much of what we do in Otago, from horticulture in Central Otago to land drainage in Clutha delta. Climate change therefore does not function separately to the work that we do; it is a key consideration in all that we do. We want Otago's communities to be aware of climate change and will work with them to adapt to its effects on our region. 


Climate change has had a lot of focus in recent times as we see more extreme weather events globally. It is more than just sea-level rise; it impacts on all of us throughout Otago. To better understand the impacts of climate change and associated risks and opportunities for the region, we have carried out the Otago Climate Change Risk Assessment (OCCRA).  


As preparation for enabling future prioritisation of risks for adaptation planning, ORC has undertaken the Otago Climate Change Risk Assessment (OCCRA). This builds on our understanding of climate change related risks and vulnerabilities within the region. It includes details on some of the bigger climate change-related risks for the Otago region. 


Our aim with this report is that it sets a baseline for the entire region to work collectively in responding to climate change. That means local communities, institutions, businesses, government bodies and other organisations helping each other understand how climate change may impact on lives, how we can adapt and mitigate climate change together by making informed and responsible decisions. 


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines risk as the interaction between hazard, vulnerability and exposure. OCCRA used this definition and assessed risk under five domains - natural environment; human; built environment; economy; and governance. Under these domains, climate change-related risks elements were identified. They were then assessed against each of the relevant climate variables or hazards. 


  • Natural environment 
    • Example: Risks to ecosystems from increasing temperatures, changes in rainfall, reduced snow and ice


  • Human (people and society) 
    • Example: Risks to Kāi Tahu sites, identity and tikanga (practices), and non-Kāi Tahu cultural heritage sites 


  • Built environment 
    • Example: Risks to buildings and open spaces, including inland and coastal flooding, coastal erosion, sea level rise, salinity stress 


  • Economy 
    • Example: Risks to livestock farming sector, including drought, fire weather, inland flooding, landslides 


  • Governance 
    • Example: Local authorities lacking capacity to effectively respond to climate change 


Summary tables 

  • Table 1: Summary of key natural environment domain risks 
  • Table 2: Summary of key economic domain risks 
  • Table 3: Summary of key build environment domain risks 
  • Table 4: Summary of key human domain risks 
  • Table 5: Summary of key governance domain risks 

Tables available here.



Otago Climate Change Risk Assessment 

Full report (2021).


NIWA Otago Region Climate Change Projections Report 

We commissioned a report from NIWA that describes projected climate changes for Otago. The report looks at expected changes for different climate factors, like temperature and rainfall as far ahead as 2100. Read the full NIWA climate change report here.


National Climate Change Risk Assessment 

Full report.


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