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Topics > Coasts > Managing Adelaide's beaches

Adelaide beach works

Adelaide beach works

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11 July 2022

The department continues to monitor erosion hotspots on the Adelaide coastline including Semaphore South, Semaphore Park, and Henley Beach South.

Strong winds, large seas and high tides especially in the winter months causes some erosion of Adelaide’s beaches which is why sand movement works can be needed in winter to manage those areas.

The Department for Environment and Water monitors the beaches closely with the help of local councils and determines where sand will be needed.

The state government is undertaking a review of the management of Adelaide’s beaches to ensure a long-term solution is found which puts community and the environment at the core. Find out more

Find out about works underway to manage Adelaide's beaches.

Sand pumping from Glenelg to Kingston Park (annual)

Works: Annual sand recycling with sand being pumped to replenish beaches from Glenelg to Kingston Park.
Duration: Annually every June to November
Contact: alboperations@mcdgroup.com or phone 8232 1882

Sand recycling to replenish beaches from Glenelg to Kingston Park through the underground pipeline system is undertaken annually. Works normally commence in June and run through to November. McConnell Dowell undertakes this work on behalf of the department.

Sand collection and pumping takes place between 7.00am and 7.00pm Monday to Friday. During this time, residents and beachgoers are requested to take care during works and adhere to safety signage and flagging that will be in place during operation.

The removal of built up seagrass wrack may be required at Glenelg prior to sand collection being undertaken.

Works are subject to change depending on the weather and operational requirements.

West Beach replenishment

Works: Delivery of sand from land-based quarries to West Beach is now completed.
Beach replenishment recommencing 2023 ( works are subject to change).
Contact: DEWcoasts@sa.gov.au

Between July and September 2022, approximately 50,000 cubic metres of sand was delivered to West Beach via the Adelaide Sailing Club.

Read the news story

Community safety

Truck speed limits on beach

Working hours

  • The contractor needs flexibility to work around the weather and tides. Operating hours for beach works are at the discretion of the site supervisor, and can be undertaken between the hours of 7:00am and 7:00pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Works are not undertaken on weekends.

Works are subject to change.

Adelaide beach works

West Beach dune restoration and stabilisation works

Works: Dune restoration and stabilisation works at West Beach
Timeframe: Commencing from February 2022
Contact: DEWCoasts@sa.gov.au

  • Stabilisation and restoration works commenced at West Beach in early 2022.
  • Works are being undertaken in the area directly north of the West Beach Surf Life Saving Club to reduce the impacts of wind-blown sand.

Find out more

Glenelg North beach replenishment

Works: Sand movement works from West Beach harbour to Glenelg North
Duration: October 2022 to November 2022

Works to replenish the beach at Glenelg North are scheduled for October - November 2022

Sand will be collected from the area just south of the West Beach harbour bridge and from within the harbour and moved by trucks along the beach to the foreshore north of Glenelg harbour.

The sand helps to raise the beach level along the narrower stretch of Glenelg North beach.

The removal of sand also helps prevent excess sand moving around the harbour breakwater and into the harbour where it would otherwise need to be removed with a dredge.

Other works

Beach replenishment at the following locations is undertaken periodically:

  • Semaphore South (dunes between Noonies Cafe and Hart Street) - last replenished August 2021.
Adelaide beach works

Community safety

Community safety is a priority. Safety signage is in place on the beaches during works.

The community and beach users are asked to please take extra care on the beaches while the works are underway and adhere to all safety signage and flagging in place during operations.

  • Qualified contractors are employed for the works. The successful contractor is required to develop a job safety plan and a thorough risk management plan. This includes safe management between the work and members of the public.
  • Traffic control complies with relevant Australian Standards and Code of Practice. Traffic controllers and/or signage is provided where necessary.
  • We liaise with Surf Life Saving SA and local surf clubs regarding beach safety.
Adelaide beach works

Truck speed limits on beaches

Sand movement works on Adelaide’s beaches are undertaken by a contractor on behalf of the department.

Safety is of paramount importance when undertaking works along our beaches. As such, the contract includes stringent conditions regarding the speeds that the equipment (trucks and other machinery) can operate at when moving along the beach.

Speed of vehicles on the beach shall not be greater than:

  • 40 km/h unless within 50 metres of any person or animals
  • 25 km/h between 10 metres and 50 metres of any person or animals
  • Must stop within 10 metres of any person or animal.

In addition, all vehicles must give way to all other traffic on the beach including pedestrians and animals. They must stop when pedestrians or animals wish to cross the line of movement of the trucks along the beach.

GPS monitoring is used to make sure the contractor’s trucks are not speeding. The department also has a full time supervisor on site at the beach monitoring compliance with these conditions.

Doesn’t sand just wash away when beaches are replenished?

When beaches are replenished with sand it is normal for some of it to be washed away during the next storm. If the replenishment sand wasn’t there, then the beach would be even more eroded and exposed.

Much of the sand that is washed offshore during storms is moved back onshore during calmer periods, so it is not wasted. This sand will also help maintain beaches as it drifts naturally to the north.

Why is sand under the surface of the beach grey or black in colour?

The sand collected from Adelaide’s beaches is sometimes coloured grey to black because of the naturally decomposing seagrass content. This is particularly noticeable if you dig below the surface of the beach in areas where seagrass wrack accumulates. This quickly dries and turns white/yellow after being exposed to the sun, wind and rain.

Adelaide beach works
Seagrass wrack on Glenelg beach

Is seagrass wrack sometimes moved on beaches?

It is preferable to leave beach-cast wrack on the beach unless it becomes a problem from an amenity or management perspective, as seagrass wrack plays an important role in sustaining the beach and marine environment. This includes nutrient recycling, providing food and habitat for marine life and protecting the coast from storms.

Where wrack is impeding sand collection, it can be moved within the beach system, or it may be incorporated into the replenishment of nearby eroded dunes (such as near harbours where wrack regularly accumulates and is required to be moved or dredged).

If wrack is intended to be moved for amenity or other purposes, then responsibility is with the local council as part of its care and control of the foreshore.