South Australia has large dune systems and areas of sand drift that are significant coastal features. Dunes can be highly mobile systems that migrate inland in the direction of the prevailing wind, often burying anything in their path.
This natural sand drift is an important coastal process, often disturbing older vegetation on dunes and providing opportunities for vegetation regeneration. However, it is expected that rising sea levels and changes to current climatic conditions will result in dune systems becoming increasingly unstable. This presents an additional hazard for current and future development within coastal zones that must be considered.
The sand drift hazard was originally interpreted as part of the coastal hazard boundary assessment. Vegetated sand dunes are classed as a potential hazard because vegetation reduces the risk of dune mobilisation. Bare sand dunes are more likely to be impacted and mobilised by wind and waves, posing more of a threat and are defined as an actual drift hazard.