Climate change scenarios project decreases in rainfall for the eastern regions of New Zealand in the future, which will mean less rainfall is likely in the eastern parts of the Waikato region as well.
Projected hotspots of future drought exposure in the Waikato region are likely to be in parts of the Hauraki district, followed by the Matamata-Piako and Thames-Coromandel districts.
Under a high temperature increase and low precipitation increase climate change scenario, the Waikato is projected to have significant areas that could be at increased drought risk and reduced water availability for pasture growth (for up to 2 months per year is possible) from 2070 onwards.
Climate change projections for rainfall in the coming century are not evenly spread in our region. We can expect more extremes and a difference in the distribution with more rainfall in the west and less (droughts) in the north-eastern part of the region. An increase in summer storms on the Coromandel Peninsula is also anticipated.
In summary, our rainfall distribution is expected to be different from the current situation with more intense storms and longer periods of no rainfall that tend towards droughts in some areas. This will affect land use both commercially and for sustainability of our natural ecosystems and indigenous biodiversity.
The extreme weather events we experience now are likely to become regular events with projected climate change.
We need to start planning now to ensure our communities are resilient from weather extremes in the future.
Projected sea level rise is likely to affect the way we all do things along our coasts.
Planning is needed now to ensure our communities are resilient from coastal hazards in the future.