Wagga Wagga and Urban Salinity
Urban salinity is recognised as one of Wagga Wagga's most significant land degradation concerns. Annually Wagga Wagga City Council works with the community to adopt management practices to reduce salinity in the urban environment.
What is Urban Salinity
Salinity is the accumulation of salt in the upper layer of soil that had been brought to the surface by a rising water table. A water table is the upper surface of groundwater below which layers of rock, sand and gravel are saturated with water.
Potential causes of a rising water table include irrigation from gardens, increased runoff from paved surfaces, removal of natural vegetation and leaking underground pipes.
What are the impacts
Urban salinity can affect the environment in many ways including;
- Damage to infrastructure such as roads, bridges, pavements, buildings, underground services, railways and telecommunications
- Reduction in water quality as salts wash into waterways,
- Corrosion of washing machines, dishwasher and air conditioners
- Loss of vegetation
The urban salinity education program increases community awareness of the causes, problems and management of urban salinity through programs in the community and schools. The Urban Salinity Guide is aimed at residents and students wishing to learn more about the local salinity issue. This Guide pinpoints key areas of Wagga Wagga where the impacts of salinity are evident and where management strategies have been implemented. You can download a copy of the Urban Salinity Guide below.
How can we manage these impacts
Revegetation is an important management practice to reduce the impact of urban salinity. Wagga Wagga City Council seeks opportunities to increase the vegetation cover throughout the local government area by seeking grant funding for revegetation works and annual participation in Planet Ark's National Tree Day.
The establishment of a rear block drainage replacement system, an evaporation basin and the dewatering bores are examples of major capital works programs utilised by council to control urban salinity.
The status of urban salinity is monitored through an extensive piezometer network and reported on annually. You can find copies of recent Urban Salinity Status Reports below.
The Lloyd Urban Release Area (URA)
The Lloyd URA is important for managing urban salinity within the broader Wagga Wagga urban area. The primary concern is that urbanisation of this area may increase infiltration rates o the ground water system, raising water table levels down slope of the development area.
One of the special conditions applying to the Lloyd URA is that developers must ensure that a minimum of 80% of the suburb is covered by impervious surfaces (i.e. a surface through which water cannot penetrate).
For more information, follow the Lloyd URA link.