Adapting to a changing climate - Urban Water

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Adapting to a Changing Climate - Melbourne's Story |

City of Melbourne

Melbourne is a beautiful city, historical buildings, tree lined streets, parkland and stunning waterways.

Melbourne has been battered by extreme storms.

News reader: “A day of total fire ban has been declared for the entire state. Authorities are now warning of more extreme conditions over the weekend.

Our climate is changing and it’s affecting cities around the globe including Melbourne. Although the impacts of climate change are serious, the City of Melbourne is taking action to prepare our city. We’re planting trees to cool our streets, preparing for future droughts and investing in infrastructure to reduce the impacts of flooding. We’re adapting our city to the real ity of climate change. But we’re not doing it along, other areas of government, industry, businesses and individuals are actively addressing the impacts of climate change to our city.

We’ve identified a few areas of key critical risk – increase in extreme heat waves, water shortages and flash floods. We have strategies in place to reduce the impacts of these risks on the growing population in the municipality.

Heat is a major issue for Australian cities. It’s a silent killer and many of us don’t realise that it actually claims more lives each year than any other natural disaster.

During summer, Australian cities experience a really exacerbated urban heat island effect and what this means is our cities can often be 5-7d warmer than less urbanised areas.

Cooling the city is a really critical element of the cities adaptation approach, the way were doing that is we’re building a green infrastructure network for the city.

City of Melbourne is seeking to double the urban forest canopy cover from 20% -

40%. We’re looking to plant 3000 trees every single year. If we achieve that, we know that we can actually reduce the cities temperature by 4d Celsius.

We’re not limiting ourselves to just looking at trees, we’re also looking at open green spaces, living green roofs and walls. These can also contribute to cooling the city.

In 2009 we were in the middle of one of the worst droughts in modern history. Melbourne, like other cities across Australia almost ran out of water. It was so significant because it fundamentally changed the way

Melbournians operated and the way they lived their lives.

By using small scale localised solutions and using the right water for the right purpose at the right time, means that we don’t have to use our precious drinking water supplies for things like watering our parks and gardens, flushing toilets and washing our clothes.

CSIRO research suggests extreme events such as floods, fires, heat waves and storms will become more intense and more frequent as our climate continues to change. The city of Melbourne is already experiencing these changes. Southbank is a danger zone for flooding when the Yarra river bursts it banks. Increasing frequent storms surge exasperated but sea level rise are going to make these risks worse as the years go by. Reducing the emissions that cause climate change is going to help but we’re still going to have to adapt. The City of

Melbourne for instance is reducing flood risk by improving drainage systems and upgrading stormwater infrastructure.

Heat waves, water shortages and floods are all critical risks to the City of

Melbourne but we’re working hard to minimize these risks.

We’ve engaged adaptation strategies early and with our continued work with the community will enhance

Melbourne’s resilience to the effects of climate change.

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