The ferocious storms which pounded the New South Wales and Southern Queensland coasts in June 2016 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 Australia’s coasts are at risk in the next 75 years due to rising sea levels and climate change. The report 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 beachfronts from the sort of coastal flooding that climate change is expected to cause.

COASTAL FLOODING DEFENSE – AUSTRALIA

At Mooloolaba, the Sunshine Coast Council has 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 200 lineal metres of erosion protection to Mooloolaba Beach. The success of this first project prompted the Council to extend the revetment in late 2015 to the Mooloolaba Harbour Wall. Again, ELCOROCK® Sand Containers were used.

During the early June 2016 storm, the geocontainer 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.

Controlling Coastal Flooding with Geocontainers - Australia
Before (left) and after (right) the storm surge. The geocontainers provided the essential last line of defense. Sand washed away, exposing the sand-filled geocontainers, but the infrastructure beyond was preserved.

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 highest risk pieces of the NSW coast. It loses an average of 1m of seafront per year, far outstripping other areas in terms of property at risk. Several homes have already been lost to coastal erosion and more than 40m 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. Up until installation of the system, this beach had equated to 2,500 m2 of land.

After the storm, the land owner’s section of beach with the geocontainer installation remained intact; other erosion control measures on the same beach, however, were damaged and suffered erosion.

Controlling Coastal Flooding with Geocontainers - Australia
Elcorock® systems provided the same type of protection in 2011 at multiple sites across Australia during the severe tropical cyclone Yasi.

ABOUT ELCOROCK®

The geocontainers used in these constructions (ELCOROCK®) have been used extensively throughout Australia since 1995 and internationally since 2000. The system has withstood coastal abrasion, vandalism, UV damage, and even Category 5 cyclones—a testament to the beneficial impact geosynthetics can have in coastal flooding defense and guarding against climate change.

The flexibility of an ELCOROCK® structure allows enhanced environmental amenity, through focused planting or integration with the surrounding environment.

Learn more at the Geofabrics website.