Inspire : Public Works Mar Apr 2013
47 THE GUIDELINES The Guidelines for Responding to the E ects of Climate Change in Coastal and Ocean Engineering was rst published in 1991, was updated in 2004 and revised in 2012 as new climate data emerged. It is designed primarily for use by professional engineers with expertise and experience in coastal and ocean engineering, and although it notes that the use of guidelines may not alone su ce to gain development approval, it covers the scienti c basis of climate change, impacts and response strategies, coastal and ocean research and studies, the methodology of coastal/ ocean engineering impact assessment, with 3 example case studies. The Guidelines for Working with the Australian Coast in an Ecologically Sustainable Way is also directed primarily at professional engineers practicing in the coastal zone, and a broader range of professionals such as planners and managers with decision making roles. It was rst published in 2004 and updated in 2012 and covers issues such as ethics, responsibilities and duty of care, coastal zone policy, coastal development, coastal engineering methodology, and standards, codes and quality assurance. The Climate Change Adaptation Guidelines in Coastal Management and Planning is a new document rst published in 2012, and is intended for coastal managers, decision makers and elected representatives at all levels of government, plus interested community stakeholders. No formal training or experience is assumed. Its objective is to provide a simpli ed and structured framework to help the coastal manager consider physical intervention options under current and future climates. The rst part outlines key concepts of climate change adaptation, coastal processes, planning frameworks and assessment methodologies; second part introduces a range of intervention strategies/ adaptation options to address the hazards to coastal developments and land use. Most of body of report focuses on describing the di erent types of costal adaptation options. potential implications if those guidelines are not followed. "We have been careful to balance technical content and such that the documents are not overly prescriptive. We've sought to have them provide information to assist engineers and decision makers make good judgments." As an example of the challenges that engineers now face, the rate of sea level rise has jumped from around 1.88 mm a year (or about 18 cm a century), to possibly four times that rate. That means that coastal str uctures built now have to consider the possibility that sea levels will rise 80 centimetres or more over the life of key infrastructure. Indeed, Cox says determining hazard lines for coastal planning will affect all local government planning for current and future development on the coast, and likely be the most tangible, and politically sensitive, example of how the guidelines are used. And those judgments don't just relate to the high- profle fghts over waterfront development being played up and down the coast of Australia. A lot of media attention has been devoted to the impact on high-value beachside property and the court battles that have ensued. But Cox has noted that this barely scratches the surface: the real problems are the much larger number of properties in less visible canal estates and estuaries. These may not be as high in property values, but there are more of them, by several orders of magnitude. And there is related infrastr ucture, such as underground power, communications, water, sewage and stormwater drains -- all of which are very vulnerable to sea level changes. And there are political considerations. "Documents are guidelines, not standards, so their use will have to be justifed,” says Stephen Lees, the National Director, Sustainability, at the IPWEA. However, he says the main diffculty facing local government professionals in coastal area of NSW and Queensland is that their state gover nments have withdrawn the sea level rise planning benchmarks. Still, knowledge about the science is constantly evolving, and the volumes will need to be further updated, particularly after the release of the latest IPCC reports in 2013/14. ••• To download the guidelines go to: www.engineersaustralia.org.au/coastal-ocean- engineering/publications Coastal structures built now may face a sea level rise of over 80cm during their life. CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION Have your say on this story. Go to http://goo. gl/LDdqg to comment on this article.
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