Securing Adelaide’s metropolitan beaches, the next stage

Dr Murray Townsend1, Mr Jason Quinn1

1Department For Environment And Water, Adelaide, Australia

Adelaide’s beaches have been actively managed since the Coast Protection Board undertook the first beach replenishment in 1973.  Beach replenishment continues to be the primary means for addressing ongoing and serious erosion along Adelaide’s beaches.  Without intervention, coastal development and infrastructure would be threatened as erosion progressed, starting at Kingston Park and Seacliff and progressively moving northwards.

In 2005, the Government adopted a beach replenishment strategy pumping sand slurry from accreting areas to address beach erosion and maintain dune buffers.  The pipeline system was not completed and left the West Beach and Henley Beach South foreshores vulnerable to erosion once the strategy became partially operational in 2013.

On 3 June 2019, the Premier announced funding of $52.4 million over 4 years for South Australia’s coast.  $4 million is being provided to regional councils for high priority coastal protection and adaptation projects, $20 million for replenishing West Beach and Henley Beach South with externally sourced sand and $28.4 million to complete the sand recycling pipeline from Semaphore to West Beach.

The sand and pipeline project will settle the management of Adelaide’s beaches for decades to come.  The project will largely restore lost beach volumes at West Beach and Henley Beach South and allow them to be maintained using sand recycling with the new pipeline.

The presentation will provide a description of the project, progress to date and the opportunities for community engagement and dune and ecological restoration along the coast.


Dr Murray Townsend manages the Coastal Management Branch within the SA Department for Environment and Water.  He and his team manage Adelaide’s beaches, provide advice and guidance on coastal policy, engineering and management and climate change adaptation, and provide support to the Coast Protection Board.  The Branch is a specialist group of coastal engineers and scientists, urban and regional planners, surveyors and administrative staff.

He was the South Australia representative on Engineers Australia’s National Committee on Coastal and Ocean Engineering (NCCOE) from 2002-2016 and served two terms as Chair.   NCCOE publishes guidelines on climate change and sustainability on the coast.

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