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Managing Adelaide's Beaches

The state government has been working with local councils since 1973 to actively manage Adelaide’s metropolitan beach system – which runs 28 kilometres from Kingston Park to Outer Harbor. 

The Adelaide Living Beaches Strategy developed in 2005 determined that while we essentially have one long beach with several built structures that interrupt natural sand movement, it could be more effectively managed in discrete sections or 'cells'. These cells were necessary because of the impact the built structures were having on sand movement. Decisions, including sand movement, are made in relation to individual cells, while still providing for the movement of sand between cells as required.

The original proposal was to provide sand pumping infrastructure along the entire coast, but this proved to be cost prohibitive at the time. Pumps were installed to allow sand movement within some cells, with trucks used to cart sand elsewhere. 

Three things have become apparent since the 2005 strategy was adopted:

  1. The northward movement of sand along the middle part of our coast at West Beach is greater than previously estimated.
  2. There has been a net decline in the volume of sand along the total metropolitan beach system since 2011.
  3. Some cells are affected more than others.

The state government is now determining an approach that will best meet the community’s needs taking into account environmental, recreational, logistical and financial considerations.

To address significant erosion at West Beach as an immediate measure, the state government is investing $1 million over two years to replenish the West Beach Parks dunes with sand from the Semaphore South breakwater. This is being done as part of the annual beach replenishment program, which started in mid-October 2018 and is being delivered through the state government’s $5.2 million New Life for our Coastal Environment commitment.

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