20 Jun 2016
The ferocious storms which pounded the NSW and Southern Queensland coasts this month brought into focus the Climate Council's 2014 report Counting the Costs: Climate Change and Coastal Flooding.
The report predicts that more than $226 billion in commercial, industrial, road and rail, and residential assets around Australian coasts are potentially at risk by 2100 due to rising sea levels and climate change. The report also calculates that 52% of Australia's coastline is susceptible to recession due to climate change, rising sea levels and storm surges.
In two instances along the coast Council and landowners have worked to proactively protect their beachfront from the effects of climate change; protecting their beaches from the impact of last weekend’s storms.
At Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast Council have undertaken two erosion prevention projects over the past six years.
In 2010 the Council began construction of an ELCOROCK® sand container revetment designed to protect the highly erodible beach from strong wave action and storm surges from cyclonic events. The revetment provided two hundred lineal metres of erosion protection to Mooloolaba Beach. The success of this first project prompted Council to extend the revetment in late 2015 to the Mooloolaba Harbour Wall, again using ELCOROCK® Sand Containers.
During last weekend’s storm the ELCOROCK® revetment provided protection to the vulnerable sand dunes behind the beach, preventing erosion, whilst large volumes of sand were washed away from the beach in front of the revetment.
Further south on the NSW Mid North Coast one section of coastline has been identified as one of 15 NSW State Government coastal erosion “hot spots”. This beach is one of the most rapidly eroding and high risk pieces of NSW coast, losing an average of 1 metre of seafront a year, far outstripping other areas in terms of property at risk. Several homes have already been lost to coastal erosion and more than 40 m of foreshore have been eroded on the beach in just 12 years.
Under the NSW Coastal Protection Regulation 2011 a land owner at the beach has only just recently installed ELCOROCK® sand containers to prevent further loss of beachfront, which up until installation of the system had equated to 2,500 m2 of land. Whilst the land owner's section of beach where the ELCOROCK® sand containers are installed remained intact, other erosion control measures on the same beach were damaged during the storms leading to further foreshore erosion.
ELCOROCK® has a proven performance record particularly under tough conditions; having been used extensively throughout Australia since 1995 and internationally since 2000 including projects in New Zealand and Pacific Islands. The system has withstood coastal abrasion, vandalism, UV damage and even Category 5 cyclones.
ELCOROCK® is also extremely user friendly, adds to local amenity and reduces the potential for injury and public liability posed by traditional coastal erosion solutions. The flexibility of an ELCOROCK® structure allows enhanced environmental amenity, through focussed planting or integration with the surrounding environment.