Sea level study for our beach communities

DISTRICT Council of Mallala has teamed up with Uni SA to undertake a study identifying strategies to address predicted sea level rise, frequent flooding and coastal erosion along the northern Adelaide coastline.

DCM chief executive officer, Charles Mansueto, said the study had been on the cards for a while and on site investigations have now begun.

It is predicted sea levels along the South Australian coast areas are likely to rise by 0.3m by 2050, with a further rise of 0.7m by 2100 as a result of climate change.

Studies previously undertaken by council and the State Government have indicated the four settlements of Thompson Beach, Middle Beach, Webb Beach and Parham in the area are at risk from sea level rise and frequent flooding under the predictions.

The Coastal Settlements Adaptation Study will identify and assess the short and long term options such as whether to protect the four settlements with levees or sea walls, to raise existing houses above the ground, or to undertake a staged retreat of some, or all, of the settlements.

The study will start with an assessment of the current and future risks to the four settlements and will include the potential damage to public and private land, Council and State infrastructure, important cultural areas, and environmentally sensitive areas should sea level rise, storm surges or erosion occur.

It will also assess emergency services access and community evacuation routes should an emergency, such as flooding or storm damage, occur.

Mr Mansueto said council would ensure that the views and considerations of the residents of Thompson Beach, Middle Beach, Webb Beach and Parham were considered when determining the most appropriate options.

A consultation program will be devised and delivered by an independent and specialised consultant to ensure that public consultation is both effective and timely, responses are analysed carefully, and clear feedback is provided to participants.

A concluding report will provide clear recommendations on the benefits, risks and costs associated with the recommended response strategies for each of the four settlements.

The information provided will enable Council to inform and engage with the affected communities to determine “the best way forward”.

Mr Mansueto said the Thompson Beach levee project is on hold pending the result of the study.

He believed the study results would enable the community, council, and State Government to plan appropriately for the short and long term future of these four coastal settlements.

“It will become a source of information for the relevant authorities to consider,” Mr Mansueto said.

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