Last week, raw sewerage mingled with floodwater in Surrey Street, South Dunedin after the storm water system was overwhelmed for the second time in three years. We are now living the predicted consequences of a warming planet, and such extreme events make the already vulnerable more vulnerable. It is timely therefore to do a full stock-take of risks posed by climate change to our water infrastructure. A new study, supported by the Deep South National Science Challenge, focussing on New Zealand’s storm water and wastewater systems, “will trawl through research to pin-point the areas in the firing line”. (Climate change: Where in New Zealand could be worst hit?) With this knowledge we will be more prepared to develop an adaptive pathway to reduce the severity of climate change impacts.