Australia's National Local Government Newspaper Online
|Editions > 1999 > April > Green||- Melbourne Time:|
Will your infrastructure stand up to climate change?
Changing weather patterns may require Councils to reconsider their provision of infrastructure.
Brian Edwards, Manager Technical Services, at Kingborough Council in southern Tasmania said higher than average rainfall in recent years has caused Council's Technical Services Department to take a serious look at its systems including stormwater, sewerage and water supply.
"We have noticed what appears to be a pattern of change in the weather which, if it continues, will put a strain on our existing systems," he said. "This February, we had four times our average rainfall causing problems with infiltration from sewerage lines. There was higher rainfall and it came in more intense bursts.
"At the moment we are still 'putting out brushfires' from February. In the long run, we need to know if our systems are going to be under constant strain. Is this just an aberration or a long term trend?"
He said that larger Councils may be able to overdesign their systems to build in a sufficient buffer, but for smaller Councils this is not always possible.
Once they have dealt with the problems which have resulted from the February's rains, Brian said the Asset Management Division will sit down to analyse their systems and gauge the long term implications.
"We need to look at how much we can control the effects of these weather changes and, if they are going to continue," he said. "We also need to look at our current set up and examine how we can get best usage from it, and implement any changes which are necessary."
While the Bureau of Meteorology has been reluctant to ascribe particular trends to unusual weather patterns without more extensive data, Councils faced with infrastructure issues may need to think ahead of any definitive data.
"It is essentially a risk management issue," Brian said. "We cannot keep telling our residents problems are due to unseasonable weather when it is happening several years in a row."
He suggests that all Councils look at how their infrastructure is holding up, and not to dismiss any failures in very bad weather as just being one offs. Well thought out contingency plans may avert potentially costly disasters.
For further information contact Brian Edwards, telephone (03) 6229 5555.
|OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS EDITION|
The following articles are also included in this edition or go BACK to the main page:
© Eryl Morgan Publications Pty Ltd
Another site by Newline Development Pty Ltd.