Adapting to climate change

These include the maintenance and growth of dune and wetland buffers, building differently, encouraging development in lower risk areas and the strategic use of structures. 

These options can be short, medium or long-term measures - and each comes with its own set of pros and cons. We may need different combinations of these and other options at different times, and in different places. Then there are the questions of who pays, and how we pay.

The 2017 Coastal Hazard Assessment for Christchurch and Banks Peninsula Report [PDF, 8.1 MB] will be one of the key technical basis for these conversations.

We want to explore the options together, so we can come up with a mix of ways to adapt and see the best possible future for our coastal environments, our communities and our city.

Find out how you can join the conversation. 

What we are doing now

We are actively planning for anticipated changes that will increase the risk of coastal hazards.

We are working with other agencies and communities to reduce the risk from natural hazards where we can, or to lessen their effects by planning for response and regeneration:

  • Identifying and mapping areas susceptible to coastal inundation and coastal erosion
  • Working with other agencies to develop area and regional strategies and work programmes to increase our resilience to nature's challenges
  • Dealing with sand management/dune repair, dealing with minor and early erosion issues before they develop, and sand-fencing and dune-planting to trap sand and rebuild beach profiles
  • The Land Drainage Recovery Programme focused on reducing the risk of flooding to the city’s most affected areas to restore flood risk to its pre-earthquake condition.


Environment Canterbury(external link) has also collated and analysed historic shoreline positions from photographs and survey plans going back 60-70 years. This is how we know how the shoreline has moved over the past several decades.

In the past 25 years Environment Canterbury has regularly surveyed shoreline positions and beach and dune profiles on the Christchurch open coast between Taylors Mistake and the Waimakariri River. 

The level of the sea is also monitored by sea level recorders (sometimes referred to as tide gauges) at Lyttelton, Sumner and Ferrymead Bridge. These measure the changes in elevation of water throughout tidal cycles and during coastal storms (short-term sea levels). They also help monitor any longer term trends in sea levels over many years.

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