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Climate change in Casey

Global warming and climate change pose a significant challenge to all.

While climate change is a global issue, its effects will also be felt locally. From droughts and extreme heat to floods and storms, Council and individual residents can play a role in helping to lessen the impact of climate change and live in a more environmentally sustainable way.

By the 2050s - according to data provided by the Victorian Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) - the climate of Melbourne will be more like the current climate of Wangaratta.

Meanwhile, the climate of Cranbourne will be more like the current climate of Albury-Wodonga.

We're working with other councils in the region through the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA) to understand the major impacts of climate change and global warming, as well as how we can prepare for them.

Rainfall and drought

Casey - like most of south-east Australia - is expected to experience much lower amounts of average rainfall. The CSIRO predicts rainfall will decrease by 8% in 2030 and 23% by 2070, resulting in decreased catchment stream flows and an increase in drought and drought severity.

At the same time, extreme rainfall events are expected to become more intense. Rainfall will continue to be very variable, with long term decline in winter, spring and autumn.

Potential impacts

  • Increased drought frequency and severity.
  • Increased water prices.
  • Drying of wetlands, creeks and other water bodies.

What we’re doing

  • Installing drought-tolerant turf types on playing fields and centralised irrigation systems for efficient water-use.
  • Rainwater tanks for sports pavilions/club rooms and in building refurbishment where appropriate.
  • Use of recycled water to irrigate sports grounds and tree plantings.
  • Planting of drought and heat tolerant landscapes in public space.

Storms and floods

Although there will be less average rainfall, storm events are likely to be more extreme when it does rain. Increased rainfall intensity may cause flash flooding and the strength and frequency of wind is also expected to increase.

Potential impacts

  • Increased risk of flooding for a significant number of residential, industrial and commercial properties in Casey.
  • Increased impact on public infrastructure including schools, buildings, roads, drains and sewers.
  • Reduced agricultural production.

What we’re doing

  • Developing a long-term vision to protect foreshore reserves, environmental, heritage and recreational values.
  • Creating artificial wetlands to 'filter' stormwater/floodwater.
  • Sealing roads to minimise erosion, and gravel and sediment run-off.
  • Maintenance of stormwater and drainage systems.
  • Activating the Municipal Emergency Management Plan in times of emergency.

Fire risk weather

Casey is expected to become hotter and drier. The combination of higher maximum temperatures and evaporation rates, predicted reduction in annual rainfall, and increase in drought may mean increased bushfire risk.

Fire seasons have become longer, begin earlier and have become more dangerous – a trend that is expected to continue.

The Casey communities identified in the Municipal Fire Management Plan as being at high risk of bushfire include: Warneet/Blind Bight, Cannons Creek, Botanic Ridge, Harkaway, Lysterfield South and Junction Village.

Potential impacts

  • Increased demand for emergency response, medical assistance and recovery.
  • Impacts on public facilities including schools, reserves and parks.
  • Health impacts from decreased air quality.

What we’re doing

  • Annual fire prevention inspection program.
  • Increased funding for fire prevention works.
  • Implementation of the Municipal Fire Management Plan and the Fire Management Communications Plan.

Extreme temperature

Average temperatures are predicted to increase, as is the incidence of extreme heat days and heat waves.  The number of days over 35°C is expected to increase as well as more hot nights.

According to DELWP data, Cranbourne’s daily minimum temperature exceeded 20°C on average 2.5 days per year between 1981 and 2010. By the 2050s the hot nights are expected to occur 5.6 to 11.1 days per year on average.

Incidence of frost is expected to decrease with warming climate. From 1981 to 2010 Cranbourne experienced 0.5 days below 0°C. By the 2050s this may decline to between 0 and 0.2 days per year.

Potential impacts

  • Increased number of power outages in summer.
  • Increased energy costs.
  • Impact on the longevity of buildings and infrastructure.
  • Increased vulnerability from heat stress, particularly among infants and the elderly.

What we’re doing

  • Developing procedures to identify and support isolated elderly residents.
  • Annual assessments of sporting ground surfaces to limit potential for injury resulting from drought.
  • Using appropriate construction materials when building roads, paths and other infrastructure.

Rising sea levels

The effects of sea level rise will be most pronounced during extreme tides and storm events when the effects of wind amplify the height and force of waves.

Sea level rose on average 2.1 mm per year around the Australian coast between 1966 and 2009, and this is expected to continue during the 21st century. At Stony Point in Western Port Bay, sea level is projected to increase by 25 to 54 centimetres by the 2070s.

Potential impacts

  • Flooding of low-lying residential and commercial properties.
  • Damage or loss of beaches, coastal wetlands and foreshore reserves and their amenities.
  • Impacts on businesses dependent on beach-related tourism.

What we’re doing

  • Long-term planning for safe boating and harbours.
  • Renewing zoning and development laws regarding coastal areas.
  • Working with the Victorian Government's Future Coasts project to increase our understanding of how climate change will impact on the coastline around Western Port.

Reference

  • Climate change data from Impacts of Climate Change on Settlements in Western Port Region-People, Property and Places.
  • Final Report - June 2008 CSIRO, Marsden Jacob Associates and WPGA(Western Port Greenhouse Alliance); updated with Greater Melbourne Climate Projections 2019 - Projections of future climate change in Melbourne - DELWP

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