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West Beach Sand Erosion

Attributable to CEO Paul Sutton

West Beach Sand ErosionThe beach, sand dunes and assets at West Beach are under significant pressure due to large scale sand erosion particularly in the Adelaide Shores Caravan Park  to Henley South region. 

The sand dunes and the beach itself is  the responsibility, care and control of the State Government.  Responsibility for the rock wall was transferred to council some time ago, in addition the shared use coast path is an asset that the City of Charles Sturt is responsible for.

The State Government through the Department of Environment and Water (DEW) and the Coastal Protection Board (CPB) in conjunction with the City of Charles Sturt has been working to monitor and manage sand erosion and ensure dune protection at West Beach. 

It has been widely acknowledged at the that the beach has become significantly depleted at West Beach.

The City of Charles Sturt and West Beach Parks with DEW co-funded a study by Danish Hydraulics Institute (DHI) to investigate the causes and solutions. The results were shared with a range of community stakeholders and the State Government through the CPB.   The study suggested around 1.5million cubic meters of sand was required to replenish West Beach ( Cell 3).

As a result, in September 2018 the State committed to fund $1million of sand carting, transferring  sand from Semaphore beach  to West Beach.  This resulted just prior to Christmas with the CPB   trucking 50,000 m3 of sand from Semaphore South to the sand dunes at West Beach. Since that time there has been further erosion of the dune at West Beach and Henley Beach South, with the CPB’s sand pumps in the dune north of the West Beach Surf Lifesaving club becoming exposed.

The CPB have planned to undertake further sand carting and dune replenishment for West Beach and Henley Beach South in March 2019 (reducing the risk to the public with the amount of people using the beach in February). 

Our City of Charles Sturt Beach Maintenance teams have been monitoring the situation  and have continued to report that the CPB’s 80m3 buffer has not been able to be maintained effectively in the West Beach dunes, which has led to the current situation where the DEW sand pumping pipelines are significantly exposed and placing stress on that infrastructure. The stone wall separating the top of the dunes and the path is now very close to a critical state of undermining and if further erosion occurs collapse. We know that further wind or wave action will continue to undermine the dunes, leaving these assets exposed to imminent and substantial failure. We are extremely concerned with the sand movement during the calmer season; the summer weather is not known to be as challenging as the wind and wave movement experienced during the winter period.

The City of Charles Sturt is committed to protecting not only our assets, but also our coastal environment. Our focus is on caring for, and advocating for, the future of our beaches not only in the short term but for generations to come.

We will continue to work with the State Government and will monitor West Beach and share this information with the DEW and CPB. We will also continue to advocate for our community’s concerns and reflect our shared desire for a full future strategy to protect the beach, the dunes, and our coastline.

Further Information SA
Kristie Johnson
08 8408 1185
Email: kjohnson@charlessturt.sa.gov.au
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