Semaphore to West Beach pipeline

Frequently asked questions

Why are we building a sand recycling pipeline and where will it be located?

A sand recycling pipeline from Semaphore to West Beach will provide an efficient means to recycle sand. This will provide a long term solution to keeping sand on our most exposed and vulnerable beaches.

Pipelines provide more flexibility in managing our beaches – with multiple intake and discharge locations allowing sand to be picked up where there is an accumulation and delivered to locations most at need across the beach system. We have seen this success with the Glenelg to Kingston Park pipeline, which currently pumps approximately 100,000 cubic metres of sand each year.

Another major benefit of the pipeline is reducing the reliance on trucks to move sand, making it safer for the community, as well as reducing noise, congestion and the impact of trucks on roads.

The exact location of the pipeline and how it will be built will be determined in the planning and design period that is now underway.  

Find out more about the existing sand recycling pipeline from Glenelg to Kingston Park and how it works, including technical information

When will the pipeline be built?

Construction will commence in 2021–22 after the design and approval phase. The pipeline is expected to be operational by 2022–23.

What impacts will building the pipeline have on our beaches and dunes?

We will minimise the impacts as much as possible during construction. The community will be kept informed and have opportunities to find out more in the coming months.

There will be short-term impacts from construction. Disturbance of existing dunes and ecological communities will be avoided or minimised.

The works will recycle sand each year to maintain critical dune buffers. This provides the base for dune restoration for the foreshore at West Beach and Henley Beach South in particular. The government will partner with the community and councils to revegetate the foreshore and develop stable sand dunes with vibrant ecological communities.

Don’t we already have a pipeline?

Adelaide’s two existing underground sand recycling pipelines – Glenelg to Kingston Park and Torrens Outlet to the West Beach dunes - were completed in 2013 to transfer a slurry of sand and seawater from beaches where sand is building up, to the eroding beaches further south.

The pipeline from Glenelg to Kingston Park currently pumps approximately 100,000 cubic metres of sand successfully each year.

This project will extend the pipeline from the northern beaches, to connect to the existing infrastructure at Torrens Outlet to the West Beach dunes.

Did you know?
Pipelines are used successfully in many places around the world to keep beaches replenished, including on the Gold Coast. 

Once the pipeline is built, how much sand will be sourced from Semaphore?

Once operational, the sand recycling pipeline will be used to source sand from areas where sand is built up to replenish areas that are eroding further south. 

  • Analysis of the beach profiles conducted by the Department for Environment and Water will provide information on where sand is accreting or eroding and inform these decisions. 
  • The Semaphore South breakwater, designed to trap sand for replenishment, will continue to be a primary source of sand.
  • Average natural sand movement northwards along the coast is approximately 100,000 cubic metres each year, and this will need to be matched by replenishment of West Beach at the southern end of the pipeline pumping system.
  • The volumes of sand eroding and building up along the beach system will vary from year to year, depending on the shape and height of the sea bed, the weather and storms and this will influence the amount of sand which needs to be collected for replenishment.

Why isn’t dredging or a barge used to move sand?

Shifting sand by dredging it onto a barge would be severely limited by weather conditions, increasing the cost and increasing the time taken to conduct beach works. The amount of sand needed to match the rate of loss from West Beach and Henley Beach South could not be moved efficiently and cost-effectively with a dredge. 

What community engagement is occurring?

The department is working closely with a community reference group on the project.

There will be opportunities for broader community input during the pipeline design phase in 2021 and for the dune restoration works. Subscribe to stay informed.

More information