Addressing critical issues in hydrology and hydrogeology at AGC NZHS Conference

The joint Australasian Groundwater / New Zealand Hydrological Society Conference, hosted at Auckland University of Technology from November 28th to December 1st, saw participation of 370 delegates representing a global cohort. The event comprised five concurrent sessions daily, encompassing diverse facets of hydrology and hydrogeology.

Among the notable presentations, Dr. Harvey Rodda, the Director of Hydro-GIS, delivered a session titled “Large Scale Climate Variability: Extremes, Hazards, and Impacts of Climate Change,” focusing on the European 2021 flood catastrophe. Dr. Graeme Smart from NIWA, New Zealand, offered a complementary perspective, showcasing images illustrating the rebuilding efforts following the catastrophic ground surface collapse at the Blessem quarry. These visuals, captured during Graeme’s visit in August 2023, provided a stark view of the ongoing re-profiling of the affected areas, highlighting the extensive flood damage.

Dr Harvey Rodda, Director, Hydro-GIS at AG NZHS Conference 2023
Dr Harvey Rodda, Director, Hydro-GIS at AG NZHS Conference 2023
Ground surface collapse during the flooding (Image credit: Reuters)
Reprofiling of the area around the quarry (Image credit: Graeme Smart)

Additionally, discussions delved into the repercussions of Cyclone Gabrielle, which struck the eastern regions of New Zealand’s North Island earlier in the year. The cyclone brought staggering rainfall exceeding 500mm within 24 hours, resulting in unprecedented river flows, severe damage, and tragically claiming 11 lives.

The conference served as a platform for multifaceted insights, addressing critical issues in hydrology and hydrogeology while emphasising the real-world implications of extreme weather events and the imperative for continued research, response, and mitigation strategies within the field.