Observed sea level rise is tracking along the higher end of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections and the trend is expected to continue. Coastal climate change hazards including coastal erosion and inundation attributable to rising sea levels, and changes to the frequency and intensity of storm events are expected. It can be argued that they are already being experienced. The State Planning Policy 2.6 requires local governments to consider a 0.9m sea level rise.
While shorelines are naturally dynamic, changes to sea levels, sediment supply and transport, and altered wave and swell patterns attributed to a changing climate will have different impacts in different local areas. Given the rapid development along the City's extensive coastline and localised accretion/erosion regimes, we recognised that a more thorough understanding of coastal dynamics and coastal vulnerability at a local scale was required.
We have acknowledged that climate change may bring significant changes to the region, particularly coastal zones, and are participating in a number of projects to better understand the potential risks and opportunities, and to take actions that reduce the City's carbon emissions.
A Coastal Hazard Risk Management Adaption Plan is currently being prepared, with a draft due to be released in 2019.
To better understand the local risk, we are working with other local governments to share resources and undertake research.
The Cockburn Sound Alliance is a collaboration between the cities of Cockburn, Fremantle, Kwinana and Rockingham and the Department of Defence. The focus of the project is to clarify areas at risk of climate change coastal vulnerability and areas that require further study to understand the risk within the Cockburn Sound, Owen Anchorage and Garden Island east.
The Peron Naturalist Partnership (PNP) is a partnership between the local governments of Bunbury, Busselton, Capel, Dardanup, Harvey, Mandurah, Murray, Rockingham and Waroona and the State and Federal Government which aims to build resilience in regional coastal communities, reduce risks and optimise opportunities associated with climate change risks and climate vulnerability.
The PNP project identified that until 2110 in the Peron Naturaliste Region:
- erosion is a far more pervasive issue than flooding
- 800 hectares of residential land would be subject to increased flooding risk
- close to a 200m wide strip along the whole extent of the coastline is at risk from erosion
- the value of the affected assets at risk along this section of coastline is approximately $1.2 billion, and $1.1 billion of assets are worth saving, at a cost of around $120 million
- ownership of coastal protection assets need to be clarified
- there is a need to request funding to address limitations highlighted in the report.