What is the Adelaide Beach Management Review?

    The Adelaide Beach Management Review (the review) is a 12-month project, facilitated by the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) and overseen by the Attorney-General. The review involves an independent scientific review of coastal (sand) management approaches to determine feasible long-term approaches for managing Adelaide’s metropolitan beaches.

    The review explores all approaches for sand management which will include community input throughout the process, transparency of process, and consideration of climate change impact.

    In accordance with the state government’s commitment, the review:

    • Aims to assess approaches and identify how to manage sand on Adelaide’s beaches in a way that minimises disruption for communities, avoids environmental harm, and maximises sand staying on beaches. 
    • Includes community engagement to ensure a clear understanding of the Adelaide community’s views on sand management approaches, and on the impact of the current sand management approaches including trucking and pipelines.
    • Will consider lessons from international examples of sand management of metropolitan beaches, and what can be learned from the most up to date analysis of climate science about future management of Adelaide’s beaches.

    Why is the review needed?

    The sand on Adelaide’s beaches naturally moves from south to north, driven by wind and waves. This causes erosion at the southern and central sections of the coastline, such as at Seacliff, West Beach and Henley Beach South, and a build-up of sand on other parts of the coastline, such as at Glenelg, Semaphore and Largs Bay.

    Maintaining Adelaide’s sandy beaches currently involves active management to move sand and bring in sand from external sources. However, recent years have seen more storm events and increased erosion of beaches. Access and amenity has been impacted at some beaches as a result. Without intervention, these impacts will only increase, particularly with climate change becoming more prevalent. .

    Construction of a pipeline to move sand from Semaphore South to West Beach was shelved following the state government’s commitment to undertake an independent review of all sand management options. Externally-sourced sand continues to be brought into West Beach while the review is completed.

    How is sand on beaches managed now?

    The state government has been actively managing Adelaide’s coastline for the last 50 years to protect property, the foreshore and infrastructure from storms while also providing sandy beaches for community enjoyment. A variety of options have been used in the past including with sand moved from where it builds up to where it is needed as well as bringing additional sand into the system from external sources such as quarries and offshore deposits. Generally, works are planned in the cooler months when beaches are less busy and avoid nesting seasons for numerous bird species.

    Community volunteer groups play a significant role in managing Adelaide’s coastline. These groups work to restore native vegetation, provide habitat and stabilise dunes.

    What is the Independent Advisory Panel?

    The review is being overseen by the Adelaide Beach Management Review Independent Advisory Panel (the Panel), who oversees and examines the outcomes of each stage of the review. 

    Advisory Panel members are:

    • Mr Mark Searle (Chair), former Chief Executive Officer for the City of Marion
    • Mr Les Wanganeen, Kaurna representative 
    • Ms Sarah Smith, Kaurna representative
    • Professor Beverley Clarke, social science expert from Flinders University
    • Professor Emeritus Nick Harvey, coastal science expert from the University of Adelaide
    • Professor Emeritus Mike Young, environmental science expert from the University of Adelaide

    The Panel attended a stakeholder workshop earlier in the year to seek input from stakeholders early in the review, and will host another stakeholder workshop on the shortlisted approaches.

    How can people have their say?

    The Adelaide Beach Management Review Independent Advisory Panel is now considering a shortlist of options that have been suggested following the scientific review. The Panel now wants to hear from the public on these options. 

    URPS is leading this engagement and will prepare a report of the results (as was the case with the first stage of consultation) to be made public on the review webpage and provided to the IAP for review.

    Who makes a decision on the review?

    The ultimate decision on which management option or options will be used in the future resides with the state government (Cabinet).

    The role of the Adelaide Beach Management Review Independent Advisory Panel is to oversee the review process which ultimately will provide advice to government on feasible options which government may consider for future beach management works. 

    What were the outcomes of the previous community engagement?

    The first phase of community engagement sought input from the community about what outcomes and values are important to the community about how sand on  beaches could be managed, and asked if there were any approaches that should be added to the long list for assessment. Outcomes of the engagement process are provided in the Engagement summary report by URPS.

    Why weren’t some options shortlisted?

    Bluecoast Consulting Engineers undertook a high-level technical assessment of a long list of coastal management options. The long list of options was informed by research of interstate and international coastal management techniques alongside input from community members and stakeholders.

    The assessment of the long list of options used an evidence-based approach drawing on information and data from previous coastal monitoring, studies and research on Adelaide’s beaches, and the impacts of climate change, as well as results of the first phase of community engagement about what matters to community members. The assessment evaluated the effectiveness, practicality and acceptability of the longlisted options to filter out the least feasible options.

    Bluecoast’s assessment included consideration of each option’s:

    • Effectiveness in providing coastal protection and amenity, its adaptability to climate change, and confidence in it as a solution
    • Practicality in terms of engineering feasibility, strategic alignment with the objectives of the review, and the financial implications
    • Acceptability in relation to its potential environmental impacts, future approval pathways, and the likely impact on beach users. 

    The following options were not shortlisted for further analysis:

    • Long-term ongoing delivery of quarry sand 
    • Removal or bypassing of existing (harbour) structures that impede sand movement 
    • Construction of artificial headlands, reefs or breakwaters, or other methods that would potentially reduce wave energy such as seagrass restoration
    • Installation of groynes and groyne fields to raise beach heights, or construction of seawalls to provide coastal protection
    • Planned relocation of properties and infrastructure 
    • No longer actively managing the coastline.