Climate change

Climate Ready Onkaparinga booklet cover

The City of Onkaparinga has been responding to concerns about climate change since 1998 and our Community Plan 2035 further strengthens our commitment.  

Check out all the ways that we are working with our communities and businesses to get on the front foot with climate change in our Climate Ready Onkaparinga Booklet.

Resilient South

In 2011, we became founding partners of Resilient South - a partnership between councils in southern Adelaide (Onkaparinga, Marion, Mitcham and Holdfast Bay) and state government, building the strength and resilience of our beautiful region.

We have developed a Resilient South Regional Climate Change Adaptation Plan as well as local implementation plans for each council area. These, and loads of other useful and informative resources, can be downloaded from our website:

Great news! We have become the first SA council to join the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership - a network of Australian councils committed to tackling climate change.

This program aims to highlight the work that councils are doing to reduce their emissions, switch to cleaner energy and build greener, efficient and more resilient communities. 

In the next six months we will pledge to carry out work within the themes of renewable energy, efficiency, transport and advocacy. We will be keen to showcase the work already underway to change our streetlights to LEDs and to increase the efficiency of our community buildings and clubs through the Green Buildings Program.  

Cities Power Partnership logo

Climate Ready Schools

Climate Ready Schools is a partnership between NRM Education, Resilient South and City of Onkaparinga. In 2018, this exciting initiative has challenged four local schools to investigate and develop solutions for adapting to climate change.

Aldinga B-7 School, Hackham East Primary School, Southern Montessori School and Tatachilla College are now looking at climate change adaptation issues in their schools and working towards practical solutions they can implement in their school grounds.

The program is working from a student focussed problem based learning approach. This means that the students talk to their school community to find out issues and then brainstorm solutions, build prototypes and test them to see whether their solutions will work.

Sessions were recently held for teachers and student leader groups to build their climate change knowledge and skills in using design thinking to work with wider groups of students in the schools to develop adaptation solutions to climate change issues.

NRM Education Officers are now working with the individual schools.  This will culminate in the leadership group from each school presenting those solutions to a panel of climate change industry people.

For more information contact Rob Wallace, NRM Education Coordinator.



Our ongoing carbon reduction program is to reduce our corporate emissions through our Green Buildings Initiative, reduce waste going to landfill, improve the efficiency of our fleet and plant and to purchase 100% Green Power for all of our large buildings. Projects such as cliff stability works are addressing the impacts of climate change by  limiting the effects of coastal erosion.

Heat mapping

  • One of the key effects of climate change in the south is the increased frequency and intensity of heatwaves. As part of our Cool Places foundation project we have used thermal infrared imagery to measure the land surface temperature of our urban area on a day that was 39.5 degrees Celsius at Adelaide airport.  By identifying hot-spots we can better inform our management decisions relating to tree plantings, urban planning and the health and wellbeing our community, particularly vulnerable groups. We will focus on projects in our parks, streetscapes, natural landscapes and sporting hubs where there are opportunities to implement more green infrastructure.

    Click here to view the map full screen

  • The Climate Change Response Fund was established in 2008-09 to fund the implementation of the Climate Change Strategy and its foundation projects. The strategy was the outcome of extensive community engagement and was informed by the expert advice of a specially established Science Panel.

    Initiatives from the strategy that received funding from the fund addressed some or all of the following three categories:
    • Adaptation: initiatives that help ensure that the organisation and our communities are prepared for and well adapted to the impacts of climate change. 
    • Corporate Emissions Reduction: initiatives that deliver emission reduction and carbon offsets by reducing our energy use.
    • Low emissions city: initiatives that support emissions reduction by local communities, businesses and industry. 

Projects included biodiversity modelling of climate impacts and future conservation management options for selected plant and animal species, and assessing the impact of climate change on the region’s coast, and proposing adaptation measures to protect our natural (beaches, cliffs, reefs, floodplains and dunes) and built infrastructure (buildings, jetties and sea walls).

PDF icon png View the Climate Change Response Fund review report (3.5Mb)

  • We have been working in collaboration with Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government and a number of other Councils around Australia, to develop the guidance manual, Climate Adaptation Manual for Local Government – Embedding resilience to climate change (2.7Mb). The manual is a practical tool for local governments across Australia to facilitate change. We are proud to have played an important role in developing this manual and believe the case studies (4.4Mb) we have provided will allow others to make practical and important changes to protect their own environment and communities.

Excellence in Public Health Awards winner

The City of Onkaparinga and our Resilient South partners won the Minister for Health and Wellbeing – Excellence in Public Health Awards 2018 for our community event ‘Feeling Hot Hot Hot! Dealing with heatwaves in southern Adelaide’.

On a sweltering 38C night in February, hundreds of community members from across southern Adelaide came together at the Marion Cultural Centre to learn about how to manage risks and support those most vulnerable.

The event was recognised as a major success on three levels:

  1. The packed house and highly engaged audience demonstrated the community appetite for these kinds of conversations and events,
  2. The strong professional networks established during the planning and delivery of this event provide a strong foundation for future collaborative work,
  3. The resources and engagement tools developed for this event provide a unique model that can be replicated in other regions across South Australia and nationally.

We learnt from the State Director of the Bureau of Meteorology, John Nairn, about how climate change is making heatwaves more frequent, long-running and intense. Chief Officer of the SES, Chris Beattie and Assistant Police Commissioner, Noel Bamford, discussed how emergency services work together to respond to the impacts of heatwaves and other extreme events. Ian Cox, CEO of the Hutt Street Centre shone a light on the impacts of heatwaves on the homeless. Paddy Phillips, Chief Medical Officer, SA Health explained that Heatwaves kill more people than any other natural disaster including bushfires, flooding and cyclones.