Wagga Wagga Urban Salinity Tour

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					  Wagga Wagga
Urban Salinity Tour

     Urban Salinity Prevention
                           The Tour Booklet
The book let came about due to the increasing numbers of people wanting to learn from
the Wagga Wagga salinity experience. Salinity tours guided by a member of council or
the Dept of Land & Water Conserv ation are conducted at least monthly . The book let will
assist those who wish to do a self - guided tour as well as the guided tour participants.

The tour sites present an ov erv iew of the multi-pronged approach tak en in tack ling
salinity in an urban setting - engineering, rev egetation, leak age reduction and community
education and participation.

                         Using the booklet
  The booklet includes:

  1. a map of the tour sites and suggeste d route - click to open map

  2. explanations for each site and

  3. relevant information sheets for each site (in blue print)

  More in depth information can be collected from the library or front
  counter at the Wa gga Wagga Civic Centre

  Please let us know how we can improve the tour - ph Elizabeth Madde n 69
  269 511

                                                                           March 2001

1. Wagga Wagga Civic Centre on the floodplain
The Civic Centre was completed in 1999 at a cost of $20 million. The past council building was
demolished and the new building is located on the same site. The Historic Council Chambers still
stand on the site and now houses the Museum of the Riverina

Location Corner Morrow St and Baylis St


                                                                         What you will see
                                                                         •   the older section of Wagga Wagga
                                                                         •   the racecourse
                                                                         •   hills of Charles Sturt University and
                                                                             suburb of Estella to the north

    Wagga Wagga Civic Centre

•     salinity occurs on the lower slopes of             •    removal of vegetation by Europeans in the 1930s
      Wagga Wagga. It is unlikely to occur on                 was the first step in changing the catchment's
      the floodplain due to deeper, better                    water balance. The Wiradjuri People are the
      drained soils                                           original inhabitants of this area

•     the city of Wagga Wagga began on the               •    groundwater is pumped by Riverina Water County
      floodplain. It was proclaimed a town in                 Council from the floodplain for residential use

                     Next stop - de-watering bores' pumping station

       è Directions: travel down Fitzmaurice St, left into Kincaid St, left into Moorong St at roundabout, left
         into Edward St at roundabout, left into next street (un-named) before Boral Bricks display

       è Distance: 5km

       è Travelling time: 6 minutes

       è Parking: along low rail fence near cream control box

Murrumbidgee River salinity

Table: NSW river salinity 1998 – 2100

                                        Average river salinity (EC) 1 EC = 0.64mg salt per litre
     River Valley               1998              2020                  2050                     2100

Murrumbidgee                    250                320                   350                 400
      Wagga Wagga               140                170                   190                 220
                                             The Salinity Audit. Murray-Darling Basin Commission, 1999

Salt flow ing past Wagga               Darlington Point and                 around 1mm per year to
Wagga                                  Colleambally.                        50mm per year (CSIRO,
Wagga Wagga is located in                                                   pers com, 2000).
the Murrumbidgee                       The '1999 Salinity Audit of
Catchment, which is one of             the Murray Darling Basin'            Vegetation
the river valleys, found in            tells us about salt in each of       The Wagga Wagga
the much larger Murray-                its river valleys. It also           Catchment area is 44km².
Darling Basin. Around                  predicts river salt loads for        The hill slopes south of the
400,000 tonnes of salt flows           the next 100 years.                  flood plain make up 60% of
past our city each year. That                                               this catchment area. Before
is, 1,096 tonnes per day.              Source of Wagga Wagga's              clearing the plants found in
Imagine 1,096 one tonne                water                                the catchment included:
utes backing up to the                 Towns such as Wagga                       Ÿ River Red Gum
Wagga Wagga Beach and                  Wagga and people living                       Woodland (Wattles,
dumping their load each                along the river use the water                 Sheoak, Kurrajong)
day! Fortunately the large             for stock (farm animals) and                  - floodplains
volume of water it carries             domestic (home use) use.                  Ÿ Mixed Box
dilutes the Murrumbidgee's             Around 30% of Wagga                           Woodland (White,
high salt loads.                       Wagga's water comes from                      Grey & Yellow Box;
                                       the river. Groundwater                        Red gum, cypress
Salt reaches the river from            makes up the remaining                        pine, Kurrajong,
creeks draining highly saline          70% and is pumped from a                      wattles, bush-pea) -
land and salty groundwater             number of sites on the                        slopes
seeping into these                     Wagga Wagga flood plain.                  Ÿ A number of
tributaries and the river                                                            different types of
itself. Large amounts of salt                                                        Woodlands - higher
come from smaller sub-                 Why Salinity in                               slopes
catchments such as                     Wagga Wagga?
Muttama Creek and Jugiong                                                   Urbanisation
Creek.                                 The growth of our city has           The city began close to the
                                       changed the catchment's              river and its flood plain. By
Burrinjuck Dam controls the            water balance. As a result,          1852 Central Wagga Wagga
timing and amount of water             the watertable has risen.            stopped at Johnston St to
flowing down the                       Our catchment's heavy clay           the south and the suburb of
Murrumbidgee River. Below              soils and small catchment            North Wagga Wagga to the
Wagga Wagga a large                    discharge point appear to            north.
amount of the water from               make it susceptible to
the dam is diverted to                 groundwater problems.                It then spread slowly
irrigation use each year. The          Farming first tipped this            towards Willians Hill. The
Murrumbidgee River                     balance through vegetation           city extended to Urana St
supplies the Murrumbidgee              removal. Urbanisation has            taking in the suburb of
Irrigation Area (MIA) which            dramatically increased               Turvey Park by 1940. Over
includes the towns of                  recharge or the amount of            the next fifty years urban
Griffith, Leeton, Yanco,               water seeping into the               development continued
                                       groundwater system from              southward to include

   Why salinity in Wagga Wagga

   Ashmont, Lake Albert,                 More suburbs are planned                 basin on heavy clay soils
   Kooringal, Mt Austin,                 for these areas in the future.          with a small catchment
   Tolland, and Glenfield Park.          Salinisation has mostly                 discharge point. This
                                         occurred on the lower                   prevents groundwater
   Since 1990 we have seen               slopes next to the southern             leaving easily. Groundwater
   urban development on the              flood plain. This also                  levels increase behind this
   hill slopes north of the flood        corresponds with the earlier            restriction and build up until
   plain at Estella Estate. The          developed areas of Wagga                they reach the surface
   southern hills slopes have            Wagga.                                  causing water logging and
   also been urbanised -                                                         salinity.
   Tatton and Bourkelands.               Much of Wagga Wagga is
                                         situated in a large drainage

                                Salt outbreak                          Clay stopping groundwater flow

                      Groundwater flow

          Impervious layer

   Bottom of slope where groundwater movement is slowed by clay soil

                                                         Another groundwater restriction is the thick clay
                                                         layer at the base of the slope next to the
                                                         floodplain ~ the watertable backs up behind the
                                                         slow draining clay. This results in a build up in
                                                         groundwater that eventually reaches the soil
                                                         surface causing water logging and salinity.

                                                         It may be difficult to visualise how the geological
                                                         or soil features described affect groundwater
                                                         movement as they occur underground.
                     Dryland Salinity: The Causes

Valley restrictions A narrowing of the width or
reduction in depth of the catchment throat is a
common groundwater restriction around
Wagga Wagga

 2. De-watering bores pump station - engineering solution

 Location Corner Moorong St and Edward St near low rail fence before Boral Brick’s show room (unoffici al
 truck stop)

Sign, control box & groundwater tank                     Edward St in background

 Issues                                                  What you will see
 •   de-wat ering program – nine deep bores              •   groundwater flowing into an in-ground
     have been installed in the Calvary Hospital             tank, via the storm water drain
     area to lower the water table through
     groundwater pumping                                 •   pump control station showing litres pumped
                                                             per second and groundwat er salinity level
 •   groundwater salinity levels are closely
     monitored as it is pumped to the river.             •   de-wat ering bore interpretation sign
     Council has a 5 year license from the Dept
     of Land & Water Conservation to put
     groundwater into the river. A condition is
     that groundwater stays below 2 dS/m

                                    Next Stop - Emblen Park

          è Directions: turn left into Edward St, turn right into Harrison Ave, cross Gormly St, turn right
            into next street which is Hardy Ave (Emblen Park is located in middle of this street)

          è Distance to Emblen Park: 1 km

          è Travelling time: 3 minutes

De-watering bores

In November 1999 the nine        Wagga Wagga as it is a           averages to around 107
de-watering bores were           discharge area.                  megalitres per year.
switched on. The bores will
help lower the watertable        Discharge areas are usually      A megalitre is roughly
and reduce the damaging          in the lower parts of the        equivalent to an Olympic
affects of salty, waterlogged    landscape where the              swimming pool so you could
soil in the area bounded by      watertable is close to the       imagine the volume of 107
Cullen Rd, Docker St,            soil surface                     of these pools being
Chaston St and Edward St.                                         pumped out of the ground a
                                 Costs                            year. This amount should
The aim is to lower the          Pre~investigations such as       fall over time as the
watertable to between 3 - 5      piezometer installation, soil    watertable is lowered. This
metres. At that depth it will    surveys and modelling cost       isn't so great a volume when
not affect the soil surface or   around $100,000. This            compared with the amount
underground services.            money came from NHT and          of water that usually flows
                                 DLWC who paid for a              past Wagga Wagga. During
The bores pump from an           percentage of the                the irrigation season, 15,000
aquifer 40-65 metres under       piezometer drilling and          megalitres of water flows
ground where the                 provided expert advice.          past Wagga Wagga each
groundwater is less salty        Bore installation cost           day. Winter sees this
than water closer to the soil    $420,000. Monitoring how         volume fall to 3,000
surface. This water may be       well the bores lower the         megalitres a day.
safely piped to the river        watertable will cost $207
whereas the shallower            000 in the first year. This      How salty is the w ater?
saltier surface groundwater      cost should fall once we         A daily limit of 1.12 tonnes
cannot.                          understand how pumping is        of salt may be put into the
                                 affecting the watertable.        river from the bores. To date
There is a natural               Power for pumping                only 0.36 tonnes of extra
connection between these         groundwater is around $37        salt reaches the river each
two aquifers. This means         600 per year. DLWC               day from this project.
the top water will               contributed around               Currently about 1 096
drain downwards as the           $150,000 in technical            tonnes (that's 1 096 ute
deeper water is pumped out.      services as 'in kind' support.   loads) of salt flows past
This will cause the                                               Wagga Wagga each day.
watertable level to fall.        Operation to date                It's estimated that disposal
                                 The bore field has pumped        of groundwater will increase
The bores are a trial to         from November 1999 to            the river's salinity by less
determine:                       April 2000. It has run below     than 0.5%.
                                 capacity as its operation is
     • effectiveness of          fine tuned. Even so,             Monitoring
        groundwater              pumping has led to some          Monitoring tells us if too
        pumping in               fall in the watertable.          much salt is reaching the
        lowering the                                              river. The deep groundwater
        watertable               How much w ater is               salinity level averages 1.5
     • changes to                pumped into the river?           decisiemens per metre
        groundwater              Council has a DLWC               (dS/m). The water is still
        salinity with            temporary license to pump        drinkable at this level.
        pumping over time        up to 10 litres of water per     Pumping will be reasse ssed
     • pumping rates             second into the river.           if the salinity is greater than
        needed to lower          Between 0.5 litres and 5         2.0 dS/m. The maximum
        the watertable           litres of water is pumped per    limit for human consumption
     • establishment and         second from the nine bores.      is 2.5 dS/m.
        running costs            To date the bore field yields
                                 an average of 3 litres per
The de-watering bores are        second. This is pumped
being trialed in this part of    from the Moorong St pump
                                 station to the river. This

3. Emblen Park - demonstration site

Location Island in Hardy Ave at intersection of Hardy Ave & Emblen St

    Emblen Park salt tolerant plants                          Emblen Park de-watering bore control box &
                                                              groundwater storage tank

•     the park was converted from lawn to a salt          What you will see
      tolerant plant demonstration site                   •     Calvary Hospital nature strip planting on way
                                                                to Emblen Park
•     a de-wat ering bore is also located here with
      groundwater pumped to the green tank for            •     concrete access hole cover over de-watering
      watering the park                                         bore near cream coloured control box

•     community co-operation and consultaton              •     de-wat ering bore control box showing
      was needed to success fully convert the park              groundwater depth in metres and
                                                                groundwater salinity level in deciSiemens

                                                          •     three piezomet er covers. Piezometers drilled
                                                                to different depths to monitor de-watering
                                                                bore pumping effects on watertabl e level

                      Next Stop - Hardy Ave alternative streetscape

      è Directions: continue down Hardy Ave and turn left at T junction into Cullen Road

      è Distance to Hardy Ave alternative streetscape: 0.2 km

      è Travelling time: 10 minutes to drive along street viewing streetscape planting. Optional, walk
        from Emblen Park along Hardy Ave to Cullen Rd

      è Parking: either Hardy Ave or Emblen Ave

Emblen Park salt demonstration site

The Emblen Park site is located
in a discharge area - where
groundwater is close to the soil
surface. We established this site
to help those living in discharge
areas where water logging and
salty soils may be a problem.

Emblen Park provides examples
of plants that should survive in
such conditions. Finding
grasse s that can deal with both
high traffic and salinity is
proving difficult. They are
needed especially for playing

A de-watering bore and three
piezometers are also located in       Salt tolerant plants at Emblen Park
the park.

The park is watered with
groundwater pumped from the
de-watering bore into the park's
water tank. A computerised
watering system that responds
to two Wagga weather stations
controls the amount of water
going onto the park.

Wagga Wagga                                                                 salinity le vel dS/m
Wagga Wagga drinking water                                                  0.2 – 0.3
Murrumbidgee River above Wagga Wagga                                        0.1 (winter 0.2 - 0.3)
Murrumbidgee River 6Okm below Wagga at Berembed Weir, average '97           0.1
Lake Albert, Wagga Wagga, 1998                                              0.2
Deeper aqui fer groundwater Emblen Pk, 1998                                 0.9
Shallow aquifer groundwater Emblen Park                                     1.3
Railway Station bore No 46, average salt reading,1998                       1.9
Charles Sturt Uni South Campus, bore No 7, 1998                             17.3
General                                                                     salinity le vel dS/m
Distilled water                                                             0.0
Generally salinity >1 dS/m begins to cause problems for plants              1.0
Maximum limit for human drinking water                                      2.5
Saline water                                                                6.0
The Dead Sea                                                                550.0
Paci fic Ocean                                                              59.0
Limit for horses, dairy cows, ewes and lambs                                11.0
Limit for cereal crops, oil crops, most legumes                             1.5
                                                                                    CSU & WWCC

4. Hardy Ave - alternative streetscape

Location Western end of Hardy Ave below Emblen Park

   Hardy Ave alternative streetscape (west)                   Hardy Ave alternative streetscape (east)

 Issues                                                    What you will see
     •    reducing recharge on nature strips by                •    nature strip mulched and areas
          planting shrubs and groundcovers to use                   paved and replant ed with low
          water and reduce over watering                            shrubs and groundcovers

     •    maintaining nature strip plant cover in a
          salty damp environment

     •    community co-operation and
          consultation when changing public areas

     •    groundwater found at 1 meter at west
          end when carrying out nature strip work

     •    council nature strip policy may be
          changed depending on what is learned
          from this site

                             Next Stop - Calvary Hospital area

     è Directions: take first left into Cullen Rd, left into Meurant Ave

     è Distance to Docker St: 1 km

     è Travelling time: 10 minutes as viewing sites along these streets

     è Parking: slowly drive along roads viewing the situation - eg houses, de-watering bore
       control boxes

Hardy Avenue - alternative streetscape

Hardy Ave was chosen         survival on the potentially   the residents include
for this demonstration as    salty damp nature strip       house numbers 52, 54,
it is in a discharge area.   soil. Healthy plants will     56, 59, 61 and 68. The
This means that the          prevent bare patches          first section cost $17 000
watertable is potentially    appearing, require less       and the latest work cost
close to the soil surface    watering and assist in        $25 000. Calvary
and may cause soil           reducing the amount of        Hospital supported the
salinity and dampness.       water seeping past plant      program with the initial
                             roots and adding to the       street meetings held on
Replacing the shallow        watertable. The paved         their premises and their
rooted nature strip lawn     walkway will enhance          nature strip replanted in
with groundcovers and        pedestrian access on the      July 2000.
shrubs will reduce the       six nature strips.
need for watering and                                      The designs take into
mowing.                      What we learn from            account nature strip
                             Hardy Ave will be used in     access when alighting
The watertable is the        deciding how nature           from vehicles (a strip of
upper surface of the         strips could be managed       lipia lawn near the kerb),
saturated underground        differently throughout        traffic and pedestrian
soil and rock. The           Wagga Wagga. It will          safety (a strip of lawn
watertable is rising         provide alternatives to       along the kerb and only
towards the soil surface     shallow rooted lawns,         low shrubs to be used to
in Wagga Wagga, as the       which are often over          maintain visibility), bin
amount of water seeping      watered.                      collection (paved area on
into the soil is greater                                   kerb next to drive way)
than what can drain          Six residents volunteered     and access to front fence
away.                        to have their nature strips   gate (paved walkway
                             changed and maintain          from kerb to gate if one is
Planting salt tolerant       the new plantings. The        present).
groundcovers and low         nature strips replanted
shrubs will ensure plant     with the co-operation of

5. Calvary Hospital area - salt signs

Location Cullen Rd and Meurant Ave

De-watering bore control box, houses monitoring             Road damage due to high groundwater &
equipment                                                   salinity

Issues                                                •    sub-surface drainage around home not a
•   a de-wat ering bore green metal control                solution as may cause cracking as ground
    box is located at corner of Cullen Rd and              dries out at different rates
    Sullivan Ave
                                                      •    Calvary Hospital car parks' drainage and
•   some signs of salinity on homes and many               signs of salt on nature strip, groundwater
    homes with no outward signs of salinity                damage to new road

•   how some home owners are dealing with             •    salt on garden wall corner of Meurant Ave
    salt – cladding, rendering, drainage                   and Docker St

•   selling and buying a home in this area.           What you will see
    The market not dramatically affected.             •    all the above

•   de-wat ering bore located in island at the        •    note some homes have no storm water
    corner of Emblen Ave and Meurant Ave.                  outlets on kurb so back yard rubble pits
    You will see its green metal cover                     are being used

                                     Next Stop - Showground

    è Directions: from Meurant Ave turn right into Docker St, travel over railway line, turn right
      into open main showground gates (white in colour)

    è Distance to showground: 1km along Docker St, turn right into showground gates

    è Travelling time: 2 minutes

    è Parking: drive towards trotting track and follow road left through buildings then right at T
      section. Park above trotting track to view oval

Salinity information booklets - dealing with salt

These booklets have been produced to assist Wagga Wagga residents manage salinity.
They are freely available from council and the library


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Description: Wagga Wagga Urban Salinity Tour