CASE STUDIES

Surge barriers prove their worth in flood protection for Busselton

Water Corporation’s surge barriers in Vasse and Wonnerup demonstrated their importance in flood protection by holding back a significant tidal surge.

Water Corporation South West Regional Manager, John Janssen, said the recent cold front brought higher than normal tides and the surge barriers had proven just how effective they are in protecting Busselton from potential widespread flooding.

“The water level on the ocean side of the Vasse Surge Barrier measured a whopping 1.6 metres higher than the water level on the estuary side,” Mr Janssen said.

“This means if the surge barrier was not in place, ocean tide would have flowed upstream into the estuary, and could have caused potential significant flooding to the lower lying parts of Busselton.”

“The main purpose of these barriers is to protect the town of Busselton from flooding as a result of big storm surges rather than heavy rain, which is why we renamed the structures from ‘floodgates’ to ‘surge barriers’ a few years ago.

“Originally known as the Vasse and Wonnerup Floodgates, they have been in place in the Vasse Wonnerup Estuary in some form for more than 100 years.”

The structures underwent a major upgrade in 2004 to improve their water holding capacity and make them easier to operate. They are now automatic one-way flow structures which allow the water to flow out to the ocean when levels are higher in the estuary.

Water Corporation operates the surge barriers in close consultation with the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, as part of the Revitalising Geographe Waterways Program.

Source: Water Corporation WA

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