February 28, 2024

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New Zealand: Digital Tech Reveals Risks from Rising Seas

Over four years, the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science) conducted a study utilising data from the ORC-operated groundwater monitoring network in South Dunedin and Harbourside. This research explored the intricate interplay between rising sea levels and groundwater dynamics, emphasising the pivotal role of digital technology.

Image credits: orc.govt.nz

The study leveraged advanced data collection from the groundwater monitoring network to analyse factors such as tides, storm surges, and rainfall. This wealth of data served as the foundation for forecasting potential issues related to rising sea levels and groundwater dynamics. The findings underscored the vulnerability of the flat, low-lying coastal land in Harbourside and South Dunedin to the rising sea and harbour effects.

Dr Simon Cox, Principal Scientist at GNS Science, highlighted a dual threat observed this month: rising groundwater due to increasing sea levels. The study revealed that specific areas faced the risk of flooding, reducing the capacity to store rainwater and causing flooding from below, all preceding direct sea inundation. While Harbourside is expected to experience a lesser impact, South Dunedin is anticipated to face significant challenges with rising groundwater.

The implications of this study extend beyond localised impacts, particularly considering the vital roles that Harbourside and South Dunedin play in Dunedin’s overall functionality. The findings underscored the city’s need for comprehensive planning and adaptation strategies, specifically harnessing digital technology.

Dr Cox emphasised that the report’s findings, based on comprehensive data from the groundwater monitoring network, will be presented at the Otago Regional Council Safety and Resilience Committee meeting on February 8. This presentation offers crucial insights into the complexities beneath the surface in South Dunedin and Harbourside, forming a cornerstone for informed future planning.

Building on collaborative monitoring efforts between ORC and GNS since 2009, the research is integral to understanding potential issues related to groundwater and sea-level rise. The data collected from the monitoring network is mapped against incremental sea-level increases, providing planners with valuable insights to anticipate and address evolving hazards.

Dr Jean-Luc Payan, Otago Regional Council Manager of Natural Hazards, emphasised the significance of the research in understanding underground complexities. The study, based on incremental sea-level rise scenarios, contributes to understanding how hazards will evolve and supports future planning and adaptation efforts, showcasing the transformative power of digital technology in addressing climate-related challenges.

The findings are expected to be pivotal in informing the South Dunedin Future programme, a collaborative effort between ORC and Dunedin City Council to address climate change, rising sea levels, and flooding. Dr Cox acknowledged the challenges in determining specific timeframes for groundwater-related impacts due to global warming and emissions reduction efforts, highlighting the need for innovative digital solutions in adapting to future uncertainties.

The study underscored the importance of holistic planning to address water-related challenges, emphasising the role of digital technology in managing and mitigating future issues. As groundwater rises, challenges become apparent, including inundation of stormwater and wastewater systems, building instability, and liquefaction vulnerability. The forecasted changes for South Dunedin indicate a decreasing capacity for rainwater absorption, exacerbating existing flood issues.

Moreover, the study anticipated groundwater-related issues will manifest before sea inundation, at least locally in South Dunedin. Coastal inundation from the harbour is projected at 60-70 cm sea-level rise around 2100 or later. This pioneering study in New Zealand focused on modelling groundwater’s contribution to multiple flooding hazards, shedding light on the transformative potential of digital technology in enhancing climate resilience.

Dr Cox emphasised the value of the comprehensive data from the groundwater monitoring network and the partnership between Otago Regional Council and GNS Science. This newfound understanding is crucial for enhancing Dunedin’s climate resilience and holds important insights for other coastal areas facing similar challenges. The study highlighted the proactive role of digital technology in monitoring and addressing evolving hazards, setting a precedent for harnessing innovation in coastal settings.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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