All three of South Wairarapa's urban wastewater treatment plants are non-compliant, documents from Wellington Water (WW) show.
While wastewater issues in Featherston have taken the spotlight in recent years, a WW report states both Greytown and Martinborough wastewater treatment plants are also in need of "major investment".
But the report said current funding levels from South Wairarapa District Council "do not meet this requirement".
Martinborough's current wastewater scheme, which irrigates treated effluent to land and water, has been operating since December 2017 and Greytown's since 2019.
A similar scheme was proposed for Featherston, but there was public opposition at the time, and the consent was withdrawn.
To date, the Featherston wastewater plant is operating on an extension of an old consent.
The WW report stated Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) had issued "letters requesting explanations of non-compliance" for Greytown, Martinborough, and Featherston wastewater treatment plants, "which Wellington Water has responded to".
In Martinborough, the current wastewater plan design is "insufficient to avoid non-compliance", the report said.
"Effluent discharge rate and quality to both land and river exceed current consent limits.
"[There are] significant reliability issues with the land irrigator [not fit for purpose].
"This is contributing to the poor performance of the plant."
WW said management plans required by consents were in development for Martinborough, and stakeholder engagement planning was underway.
Monitoring and analysis are also being done to understand the effects on the ecology of the Ruamahanga River.
In Greytown, the current plan design is also "insufficient to avoid non-compliance".
"A consent requirement to discharge treated effluent to land is hindered by competing land use," WW said.
"This is affecting the performance of the plant.
"[There is] further consent compliance risk due to the plant requiring significant management of resources focused on effluent quality.
"Programme of ongoing improvement [is] underway with GWRC."
WW said it was "undertaking a programme of work to improve the treated effluent discharge rates in relation to the stream flow rate".
WW said Featherston's wastewater treatment plant required ongoing management of resources focused on effluent to comply with consent conditions.
The consent extension will run out next year, and efforts are underway to gain a short-term consent.
A long-term option has not yet been decided, but early estimations indicate it could cost between $30 million and $215m.
Meanwhile, South Wairarapa District Council's (SWDC) fourth wastewater treatment plant in Lake Ferry is compliant.
Wellington Water said an operations and management plan for Lake Ferry had been submitted for certification by Greater Wellington Regional Council.
"Further investment is required to achieve this management plan," WW said.
Lake Ferry's existing resource consent will expire in 2025.
At last week's Martinborough Community Board meeting, SWDC partnerships and operations manager Stefan Corbett said South Wairarapa's wastewater treatment plants "suffer from very similar deficiencies".
"There are often inundation problems, so there is more volume than there should be.
"They lack some basic infrastructure. They don't have screening gates that screen off large items.
"There's quite a lot of sludge in the ponds, which just means they're not effective."
"And then there's this consistent problem of how we deal with nitrates in the process."
He said if moving bed bioreactor [MBBR] trials in Featherston were successful, "that learning will be spread across other wastewater treatment plants if they have a similar need".
SWDC chief executive Harry Wilson signalled the extent of the district's water issues at a recent Annual Plan Zoom session.
"Council is charged with making sure your water supplies are safe, and they haven't been," he said.
"Equally that we don't contaminate our environment with discharges from our wastewater plants.
"None of our wastewater plants are compliant, and there's a bit of technical detail on that.
"Water is the big, big thing that is driving council activities."
The Wellington Water Committee is set to meet on Friday at 10am at the Hutt City Council Chambers.
Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
An Environment Court hearing is underway into the opposition of a water protection order for the world-famous Te Waikoropupū Springs in Golden Bay.
The freshwater springs near Tākaka are the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and contain some of the world's clearest water.
A protection order over Te Waikoropupū Springs and its associated water bodies was sought by Ngāti Tama ki Te Waipounamu Trust and Golden Bay resident Andrew Yuill in 2017, with a hearing held before the Environmental Protection Authority in 2018.
In 2020, a tribunal recommended that a water conservation order for Te Waikoropupū Springs and its associated Arthur Marble Aquifer.
They were all found to have "outstanding amenity or intrinsic values as waters in their natural state".
The draft order provided controls over the amount of water taken and what was discharged into waterways, to protect aquifer pressure and water quality.
The decision was open to challenge through the Environment Court and 10 parties lodged appeals.
The court will hear submissions from the Department of Conservation, Tasman District Council, Upper Tākaka Irrigators, Friends of Golden Bay and Save our Springs over the next two weeks.
The pollution watchdog has won new funding to help track the riskiest chemicals, though it is small scale.
The Budget has put $2.5 million over four years into improving a chemical map of what is used where and into monitoring groundwater.
New Zealand has a poor system for tracking the 150,000 substances containing 30,000 chemicals being imported, how much is being used and where, and the impacts - a "disjointed and patchy system" is how the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment describes it.
It is the only OECD country that lacks a pollutants register.
The chemical map is not the same thing. It was set up in 2020 but needs a lot more data and it still lacks a visual element.
The new two-yearly groundwater testing will help fill the gaps.
Environmental Protection Authority's general manager of hazardous substances and new organisms Chris Hill said it was a significant move.
"The additional component which we've never had before is this ability to go out and tactically sample groundwater to focus on particular chemicals that we are interested in," he said.
The Budget said the improved chemical map would help with allocating resources to protect the environment as well as threatened species.
The EPA has 40 chemicals on its priority list at present.
Much more data will be collected on those for the map, and the EPA hoped to widen the net to catch others, Hill said.
The map already had "quite a lot of data in it" but a lot of that was four years old.
"It's not quite contemporary.
"It has a complete list of the substances approved for use in New Zealand, along with their hazard classifications. We've also got some limited information on, say hospital records, where we've got records of people being poisoned or harmed by chemicals.
"But it needs updating and we're missing quite big chunks of information," Hill said.
Part of the work will go into standardising how to identify priority chemicals, based on how much is used and where, whether they are getting into the environment (though New Zealand does very little monitoring to check this), and how much harm they could do.
However, companies will still not be required to report what chemicals they import or how much.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has said it is crucial to require this.
Hill said the EPA was still looking at that recommendation.
"One of the options we have is, obviously, regulation to require businesses to give us the information we want. So that's something that we're exploring.
"That's not in the Budget. But that's something that we're looking at anyway."
Having a tent pecked and shredded to pieces by a flock of juvenile kea is actually a positive, a conservation group manager says.
Members of Zero Invasive Predators were on a field trip to Mount Adams on the West Coast continuing pest eradication work that aims to eliminate rats, stoats and possums from the area.
A tent had been set up as a base for them as the work that started four years ago continues.
The group's innovation director Phil Bell said the tent did not last long as a mob of eight juvenile kea set about destroying it.
"They [group members] came to work in the area to find that the tent had been torn up by kea so it was time to pack up and go home."
As far as Bell and his group are concerned, it is not a setback but a sign that the kea population is starting to flourish again on the West Coast.
Trail cameras have been installed in the area to monitor for predators.
"The cool thing is that they see plenty of kea as well.
"So our modelling suggests at the moment that the population could well be somewhere in the 400s locally..."
Work by other agencies such as the Department of Conservation confirmed the population findings along the West Coast which was "an awesome sign" for kea, Bell said.
The main threats remained stoats, feral cats and the curious behaviour exhibited by kea put them at risk.
Kea are well known for targeting shiny objects such as roof racks and "the hunters in the area have already told us about a few encounters they have had".
Pest control, the lead in roofs and playing around with cars could also be lethal.
"As we become used to having them around again, I think we'll find ways to enjoy having the kea around and enjoy watching them have a good time but not so much of a good time that they maybe wreck your house a little bit."
Last month a kea made off with an Australian tramper's shoe on Mt Aspiring Park near Wanaka. Another tramper came to the rescue and managed to reunite him with the shoe.
Nick Fisher is a New Zealand filmmaker who is travelling the world documenting what he calls "misunderstood parts of the planet" for his YouTube channel, Indigo Traveller.
The channel has amassed more than 1.4 million subscribers.
He has most recently crossed the border into Ukraine to film the impacts of the war.
Nick joins us from Budapest in Hungary, where he is based.
NZ filmmaker documenting impacts of war in Ukraine
A quarter of the country's primary and intermediate schools are now signed up to receive The House of Science resource kits and the waiting list is growing.
Former High School teacher, Chris Duggan founded the programme to supply hands on learning kits to subscriber schools aimed at raising science literacy.
There's now a waiting list. She talks to Kathryn about the ongoing demand along with Ngongotahā Primary principal Craig McFadyen who says there's much excitement at his school every time the Big Blue Box of House of Science goodies arrives
Supplementary science resource gets thumbs up from pupils
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano that devastated Tonga after a massive eruption on 15 January is unlikely to erupt again, say scientists from New Zealand's National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa).
Niwa research vessel RV Tangaroa arrived back from a maritime expedition to Tonga last week.
Three people were killed and hundreds of homes destroyed from tsunamis generated from the massive eruption - estimated to be 500 time more powerful than the atom bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
"The likelihood of another violent eruption happening anytime soon is quite low," said Kevin Mckay, who led Niwa's expedition to Tonga on board the RV Tangaroa.
"Just looking at the general cycle of these volcanos that they seem to have a cycle of two-and-a-half to three-year eruptive cycle. In my estimation, I think the chances of another violent eruption from this particular volcano in the near future not to be very high at all."
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcanic eruption generated the second largest sound ever recorded since Indonesia's Krakatoa eruption in 1883. It also produced largest atmospheric explosion ever recorded.
Given the magnitude of the record-breaking explosive eruption, Mckay said his team were shocked to find the volcano was still intact.
"With an explosion that violent - the biggest ever recorded - you would expect that the whole volcano would have been obliterated, but it wasn't.
"While the volcano appeared intact, the seafloor showed some dramatic effects from the eruption. There is fine sandy mud and deep ash ripples as far as 50 kilometres away from the volcano, with gouged valleys and huge piles of sediment."
The RV Tangaroa mapped 22,000sq/m of the surrounding seafloor, which showed changes covering an area of 8000sq/m. Its study was supported by The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project that aims to map the world's entire ocean floor by 2030.
Niwa scientists recorded up to 7cu/m of displaced material - the equivalent of five Wellington Harbours. Underneath this is Tonga's domestic internet cable which was cut-off, causing a communications blackout in Tonga for three days.
It was not just the geological impacts that surprised the RV Tangaroa, much of the ecosystem and marine life had miraculously survived.
The expedition's marine biologist Dr Malcolm Clark said "although the seafloor on the volcano is largely barren, surrounding seamounts have pockets of normal biodiversity, such as corals, sponges, starfish, and mussels, indicating the resilience of such marine ecosystems and giving some hope for recovery".
"More work needs to be done before we can be confident of how the ecosystem will respond, but these surviving animal communities indicate what kind of life may repopulate HT-HH. The sites sampled during the voyage give us a baseline for monitoring recovery in the future."
The most noticeable change was in the physical and chemical composition of the ocean and seafloor around the volcano.
Hundreds of samples were collected during the mission including 250 kilograms of rock. Data from the samples showed that there was still ashfall in the ocean that had not yet settled on the seafloor.
"In the immediate aftermath of an eruption, volcanic ash fertilises microscopic ocean algae thanks to the ash's concentration of nutrients and trace metals - in this case, there was a bloom of life so big that we could see it from space," Niwa biogeochemist Dr Sarah Seabrook said.
"The unexpected persistence of the ash in the water column is creating prolonged impacts. For example, spikes in volcanic ash were coupled to the appearance of oxygen minimum zones - where oxygen levels in the water are at their lowest - which could have implications for important services provided by the ocean, such as food production and carbon sequestration."
A key part of the research was to help assist the development of Tonga's disaster response program. Tonga's Deputy Secretary for Lands and Natural Resources Taaniela Kula said the work was vital for country's recovery.
"The eruption sent shockwaves around the world, but the effects were felt most keenly in Tonga. It was a miracle to lose so few lives, but our streets, crops, air, and waters were devastated.
"We, along with other nations on the Pacific Ring of Fire, know only too well how at mercy we are to nature. By studying an unprecedented event like this in such detail, we will gain invaluable knowledge and experience so we can recover quickly and be prepared for the next time something like this happens."
Mass bleaching of native sea sponges in Fiordland shocks scientists
For the first time there has been a mass bleaching of native sea sponges in Aotearoa, raising alarm about the impact climate change is having on marine ecosystems.
The south of the South Island has been in the grip of an extreme ocean heatwave this summer, with April having the hottest ever water temperatures.
Under the water in Fiordland's gorgeous Breaksea Sound schools of orange and pink fish nose among the green and crimson seaweed which waves gently in the swell.
Nestled among the kina and molluscs are sponges which should be a healthy, velvety brown.
Instead scores of the widespread and ecologically important species are bleached a shocking white.
Victoria University of Wellington marine biology professor James Bell said the discovery last month was alarming.
He said damage like this has never been seen in New Zealand, and there were few reports of it happening in cold waters internationally.
The bleaching appears to have happened quickly, and could be widespread.
Scientists have checked more than a dozen places near the Breaksea Sound, and in some areas up to 95 percent of the sponges are affected.
The bleaching has also been spotted in Doubtful Sound.
The discovery has shocked Dr Rebecca McLeod a marine ecologist and chair of the Fiordland Marine Guardians.
"We really worried, [the scientists] presented this information to us at our guardians meeting last week and [there was] ... stunned silence.
"It's big news."
University of Otago oceanographer Rob Smith works with the government-funded Moana Project researching marine heatwaves - which have become increasingly common in recent years.
Waters around the South Island have had the hottest April on record.
Smith said there were extreme ocean temperatures in Fiordland - up to 5-degrees hotter than normal.
"What we've seen this summer is the strongest marine heatwave on the west coast of the South Island in 40 years."
The warm waters have been a boon for anglers - with tuna and kingfish venturing much further south and being caught in decent numbers in Otago and Southland.
But Smith said interlopers could displace local species, while the warm water could also lead to outbreaks of disease in scallops, mussels, oysters and clams.
Bell said sea sponges were a crucial link in the food chain and there could be serious consequences for fish numbers if they were wiped out.
The researchers are going back to Fiordland in a few weeks to look further at the spread of the bleaching and the cause.
But Bell is worried.
"This could be the start of something really really bad for other ecosystems or the entire ecosystems in Fiordland, that's kind of where it potentially goes - it's pretty depressing," he said.
McLeod said the bleaching made what was happening to the sponges obvious - it was possible other species were being damaged but it was harder to tell.
"What we're hoping is that people will hear this story and think about what they're seeing under the water and notice changes and bring those to our attention.
"Because it is a very vast and precious area, and we need lots of eyes under the water helping us out as we start to navigate this crazy new world that we live in."
Climate change is being blamed for more than 40 little blue penguins washing up dead over a week at a Far North Beach.
The lifeless bodies of the Korora were found on Tokerau Beach in Doubtless Bay between the 2nd and 8th of May.
Charlotte Cook has the story.
40 dead blue penguins washed up on Far North Beach
Cruise ships will be returning to New Zealand shores this summer. The tourism industry is hopeful of a swift rebound in passenger numbers, but is that really what we want?
Our maritime border is about to reopen and cruise ships will soon be returning to our shores. The first one is due on 16 October – 946 days since the March 2020 lockdown stopped them docking.
The cruise industry here is looking forward to a swift rebound as the days of being locked up on a boat where Covid-19 is running rampant are fading from memory.
But tourism experts believe there is growing resistance to the arrival of hordes of cruise passengers swamping local communities, as the capacities of mega ships shoot up towards 8000.
Otago University Professor of Tourism James Higham tells The Detail about the factors we should be considering as cruise ships return.
He says Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has spoken about taking this opportunity to reset the operating model for tourism, into one that's far more resilient and sustainable.
"The minister has said very clearly that the status quo cannot be the model for the direction of tourism in the future, because in the past it's been unsustainable and has lacked resilience. He stated….that we won't go back to how it was.
"Now that obviously raises the question of, what will the future of tourism look like?"
Higham says pre-pandemic tourism was based very much on visitor numbers and economic impacts.
"But that lacked sufficient attention on some really important aspects of tourism, which we now realise we can no longer ignore."
For cruise ships that includes environmental issues, the lack of quality time spent in New Zealand by passengers making one-day port calls, the fact that the cruise ship companies are the ones benefiting most from visiting our shores, and questions over labour conditions that the industry has largely ignored.
Higham says now is the time to have those discussions, and to ask if cruising meets those important aspects of tourism.
"If they do come with high costs – then we need to make them accountable for those costs."
He's written an article for The Conversation saying new tourism should enrich Aotearoa New Zealand’s four kinds of capital: natural, financial, social and human/cultural.
The cruise ship industry argues that New Zealand needs the business that cruises bring. In 2018, 131 cruise ships docked in Auckland, and it's estimated their presence boosted the economy by $200 million a year. There was a plan to build a wharf extension in the harbour to accommodate mega-ships, but it was strongly opposed and fell over under the weight of Auckland Council’s post-Covid-19 financial restraints.
House of Travel's cruise expert Jeff Leckey disputes suggestions that passenger spending is disappointingly small, pointing out New Zealand tourism operators run shore excursions, and passengers visit local cafes, bars and shops.
There are 17 new ships launching this year, and Leckey says a lot of lines are retiring the older, more inefficient ships that are costing them a lot of money.
He says over the last 18 months they've had the chance to pause and look at what they can improve. That includes investigating alternative fuels and cutting the use of plastics on board.
"It's baby steps, but it’s going in the right direction," he tells The Detail.
Find out how to listen and subscribe to The Detail here.
The government is investing in Sustainable Foods, a plant based food producer on the Kapiti Coast.
As part of the strategy by the government to develop a low emissions high skill economy that meets global demands.
Sustainable Foods will get a loan of up to 1.25 million dollars to continue expanding its range and compete in the Northern Hemisphere market.
Justin Lemmens is co-founder and CEO of Sustainable Foods, he talks to Wallace.
Government investment in plant based food producer
AgResearch has just launched a new Māori Research and Partnerships Group to embed Te Ara Tika into its everyday work.
Te Ara Tika is a framework for researchers and ethics committee members developed by Pūtaiora (Māori members of ethics committees) and the National Ethics Advisory Committee (NEAC).
Chair of the new group Ariana Estoras said it will incorporate the knowledge system of Mātauranga Māori to help support positive change in farming practices.
"Some have viewed Mātauranga Māori as somehow diluting or being out of step with the science we've always done in Aotearoa. Some of this seems to be based on a lack of understanding and therefore an inability to see the value we can create.
"Our approach is centred around the strength of having more than one knowledge system contributing to solutions for some of the most complex challenges facing our communities."
One way of looking at it is having the benefit of a `wise old head' who has gathered knowledge not just from formal settings but also from life experience learning and interacting with farming and the natural world, Estoras said.
She said AgResearch and the new Māori Research and Partnerships Group would strive to add knowledge and impact to the important science it has always done.
"So we can respond with Māori to their needs and aspirations, but also help provide better solutions to farmers and all of society in Aotearoa.
"The environmental challenges for farmers and Aotearoa as a whole are obviously front and centre right now, and I have no doubt that this is an area where Mātauranga Māori can enhance what the science already has to offer where it comes to best use of productive land, water quality and reducing the climate change impact."
Multi-nationals such as Heineken could get a taxpayer handout to help them reduce their emissions, National leader Christopher Luxon says.
Support for the "squeezed middle" is what the National Party wants to see in this week's Budget.
The National Party has said it will support the first three emission budgets, which set caps for New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions for the next 15 years.
But it wants to see some urgent assistance for middle New Zealand too.
An early example of this has been its opposition to what it describes as the "corporate welfare" involved in using tax dollars to subsidise businesses as they cut carbon.
The government is spending $650 million over four years, as part of its Emissions Reduction Plan, on moving industries away from using fossil fuels.
National leader Christopher Luxon said some businesses that would receive funds are hugely profitable, using the example of a large multi-national such as Heineken, owners of DB, that might get $2m-$3 million to remove a coal-fired boiler.
"That's something that legitimately a corporate can take that decision on their own."
He said "it doesn't feel right".
Motorists were paying 17 cents a litre at the pump for the Emissions Trading Scheme which would be recycled to corporates to do their emissions reduction "which they should be doing on their own".
"You shouldn't have everyday New Zealanders subsidising corporates that actually in their own interests, in order to set their businesses up for the future, to manage it for the stakeholders that are part of the community and their businesses, those are things you should be doing. Good companies will do that and should be doing that now."
Instead the government has sent a message that if they waited long enough they would get a taxpayer subsidy to pay for their emissions.
Luxon also criticised "the whiteboard language" in the Emissions Reduction Plan which would lead to the setting up of a lot of bureaucracy to "develop, investigate and facilitate" initiatives.
He also repeated previous criticism that the government was guilty of wasteful spending.
National would be prioritising a national EV charging network and planning reform such as faster consents for projects involving renewables.
Luxon said the Emissions Trading Scheme was critical and should contain other carbon removal options, such as blue carbon, natives, and carbon capture.
Focus on agricultural emissions research
Rather than give funds to the likes of Heineken, he said the biggest thing to do would be to pour more money into research and development on reducing agricultural emissions although he does support the government's approach to agriculture in the Emissions Reductions Plan.
"Essentially there is no carbon emission or technology roadmap that actually gets us through agricultural emissions. We should back ourselves as New Zealanders to lead the world on that and I think we need to change our mind and our mindset on agriculture to do that."
He believes farmers understand that consumer behaviour is changing and there is a need for the industry as a whole to come up with solutions on agricultural emissions.
"Farmers get it... Their farming practices today are different from 15 years ago and they'll be different in 15 years' time."
Unlike transport, there was no roadmap for them to work towards to get rid of emissions and the country needed to back them to solve the problem rather than regard them as "villains".
Some businesses need helping hand to decarbonise - Hope
Business New Zealand's chief executive Kirk Hope supports the approach being taken by the government to help businesses decarbonise.
He told Morning Report there were two perspectives on the issue.
National was saying the Emissions Trading Scheme can be relied on to set a price which will encourage businesses to decarbonise to offset that cost.
The government has now said it would help support that change and National was querying whether this funding would "crowd out" measures that businesses would have paid for themselves.
The new contestable fund would help ensure changes could be made at pace and at a scale that ensured the government's net zero goal would be met by 2050.
Many businesses did not have the technology to make significant change, Hope said.
For some businesses their capital budgets would have to triple to decarbonise, for example, if they needed to move away from coal boilers to electrification.
"Massive costs, massive capital... The government is saying we want this to go faster and we're willing to help support that."
The ETS price has already moved and is having an impact on the economy, Hope said.
"So the quicker that businesses can adapt and innovate, and that's what those funds are for, to decarbonise, the lower those costs for emissions and the costs that are borne by the community."
Hope said the contestable fund would not be available forever, it would help get the country to the net zero goal as quickly as possible and at the least cost to the entire economy as possible.
"Of course there will be businesses that are heavily impacted by the cost of their emissions and their ability to do much about that at the moment [is] very little."
He said it was a positive that both major political parties had signed up to the Emissions Reduction Plan and that provided businesses with the certainty to invest in changes.
A petition asking for a ban on single-use takeaway containers was delivered to Parliament earlier today.
Anti-waste organisation Takeaway Throwaways is asking the government to invest in systems that encourage reuse.
Its petition with just over 10,000 signatures was presented to David Parker.
The government plans to ban a number of single-use plastic items by 2025, but the organisation said that did not go far enough.
Takeaway Throways spokeperson Hannah Blumhardt said current policies focused on a handful of items containing plastic.
"So the easiest thing for businesses to do is just to swap out single-use plastic items for single-use 'something else,' made of, say, bamboo or paper - but these have their own problems for the environment."
The best alternative, Blumhardt said, was to make reusable items more accessible.
While the government encouraged people to keep reusable containers, many businesses had simply switched to other disposable materials.
"It's all reliant on individuals remembering to bring their own," she said.
"We still want to see that being encouraged, but we also want to see the government invest in back-up systems for people who forget or just don't want to bring their own."
She hoped takeaway shops would be incentivised to offer reusable containers that could be returned to either the same restaurant or another one entirely.
"We have great logistics and collection systems for rubbish and recycling, bins every few metres, but we don't have systems like this for reuse."
Meanwhile, Blumhardt suggested dining inside whenever possible if reusable items were no handy.
Climate change makes record-breaking heatwaves in northwest India and Pakistan 100 times more likely, a Met Office study finds.
The region should now expect a heatwave that exceeds the record temperatures seen in 2010 once every three years.
Without climate change, such extreme temperatures would occur only once every 312 years, the Met Office says.
Forecasters say temperatures in north-west India could reach new highs in the coming days.
The new analysis comes as a State of the Climate report from the World Meteorological Organisation, the UN's atmospheric science arm, warns that four key indicators of climate change set new records in 2021 - greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification.
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres described the report as "a dismal litany of humanity's failure to tackle climate disruption."
The extreme pre-monsoon heatwave the region northwest India and Pakistan have suffered in recent weeks eased a little after peak temperatures reached 51C in Pakistan on Saturday.
But the heat looks likely to build again towards the end of this week and into the weekend, the Met Office's Global Guidance Unit warns.
It says maximum temperatures are likely to reach 50C in some spots, with continued very high overnight temperatures.
"Spells of heat have always been a feature of the region's pre-monsoon climate during April and May," says Dr Nikos Christidis, who led the team responsible for today's study.
"However, our study shows that climate change is driving the heat intensity of these spells making record-breaking temperatures 100 times more likely."
The new study is based on the heatwave that gripped northwest India and Pakistan in April and May 2010 when the region experienced the highest combined April and May average temperature since 1900.
It attempts to estimate the extent to which climate change made that and future events more likely.
These "attribution studies" involve running computer simulations comparing how frequently a weather event is likely to occur in two scenarios.
One models the climate as it is today, the other a climate where the human influence on greenhouse gases and other drivers of climate change has been removed.
The scenarios are run through 14 different computer models and produce dozens of different simulations which are compared to work out how climate change has altered the probability of an event happening.
The Met Office used the same method to assess the impact of future climate change and warns that worse is to come.
If climate change follows the Met Office's central predictions, by the end of the century India and Pakistan can expect similarly high temperatures virtually every year, the study suggests.
How will the Government's new recycling plan across the country and will it make recycling less confusing? The Ministry for the Environment's proposed Transforming Recycling plan includes a 20 cents return scheme for most drink containers, though excludes dairy. It's one of three key elements in the proposal to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. The other two proposals in the plan are for standardised kerbside recycling collections across all regions and for households and businesses to separate food scraps from general waste.
Roderick Boys, Principal Advisor at the Ministry for the Environment, explains the plan, and we'll discuss with Sophie Mander, Chair of the Territorial Authorities' Officers (TAO) Forum, the nationwide body run by Waste Minz - who have submitted to to the proposal and Marty Hoffart, Chair of the Zero Waste Network.
A robot that can sample planktonic communities under the Antarctic ice shelf is the latest tool developed by Professor Craig Cary and his colleagues to help forecast the future impacts of climate change.
A microbial ecologist, Cary has studied bacteria in the world's most extreme environments, including deep sea hydrothermal vents and our own geothermal areas. He is the director of the International Centre for Terrestrial Antarctic Research at the University of Waikato, and has clocked up 22 deployments to Antarctica looking at the continent's bioscience - from what is in the soil and ice, to examining penguin guano.
Cary is currently conducting work on Mount Erebus and remote North Victoria Land.
Professor Craig Cary: exploring extreme bacteria in Antarctica
Author, plant lover and former BBC documentary maker Jonathan Drori joins the show for a chat about recent botanical news.
This week, experts from Cambridge University look set to save the humble banana from extinction after developing a technique to graft different species of the fruit together, something previously thought impossible. And a mignonette leek orchid, which was last documented in 1933, has been rediscovered in Australia - which is home to approximately 1550 species of Orchidaceae.
Drori is the author of Around the World in 80 Trees and Around the World in 80 Plants.
Jonathan Drori: saving bananas and rediscovering orchids
Last week was an epic week for astronomers, mathematicians and astrophysicists around the world with the capturing of the first picture of a black hole in this galaxy.
The picture shows a halo of dust and gas, tracing the outline of a colossal black hole 55 million light years from Earth. Known as Sagittarius A* the object is a staggering four million times the mass of our Sun.
It was a particular thrill for the University of Canterbury's Canterbury Distinguished Professor Roy Kerr as it proved a his theory - posited more than 50 years ago -when he found the exact solution of Albert Einstein's equations that describe rotating black holes.
Dr Kerr's colleague and University of Canterbury Professor of Physics David Wiltshire says it's an incredibly exciting development that will enhance understanding of the crucial role that supermassive black holes play in the life cycle and ecology of galaxies.
Black hole image “incredibly exciting” development
In other news, Antarctica New Zealand wants your input on the Scott Base redevelopment by choosing the building's colour.
The buildings will be surrounded by ice... so designers are offering the options of kakariki green, karaka orange and kikorangi blue.
At the moment kakariki has more than half of all the votes in the online poll.
The Scott Base redevelopment project director Jon Ager told Charlotte Cook how they whittled the colours down to three.