Councils collaborate to prevent salinity in Greater Launceston Area

STRATEGY: Mayors Christina Holmdahl, Albert van Zetten and Craig Perkins with Peter Gutwein and the salinity action group's Stuart Brownlea.

STRATEGY: Mayors Christina Holmdahl, Albert van Zetten and Craig Perkins with Peter Gutwein and the salinity action group's Stuart Brownlea.

A strategy to understand landscape processes and determine ways to prevent salinity across the city was launched on Wednesday.

The Greater Launceston Area Urban Salinity Strategy 2016 was a work five years in the making, and was bolstered by a collaborative effort from the Meander Valley, West Tamar and City of Launceston councils.

Chair of Launceston Salinity Action Group Stuart Brownlea said the study had identified 17 landscape units with differences in geology or particular changes in the ground waters, and each had been given a hazard rating for salt mobilisation.

“The strategy’s been developed in response to a need to understand salinity drivers in the landscape around the greater Launceston area because previously we just had some site’s like this one [at the Country Club Casino golf course] where we knew there was salinity but we didn’t know what was causing it or what were the implications of doing things around it,” he said.

Experts from New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory helped to develop the strategy, which shows ways to better manage the landscape and ways to avoid the impacts of salinity or to manage what is there.

Mr Brownlea said salt in the ground is generally benign, but when brought to the surface by natural process or climate or other factors, it can create a hazard.

“It can be a problem for salt water drainage, you can have an effect on vegetation surround it or on infrastructure like houses or bridges or whatever is in the vicinity of where the salt is coming to the surface,” he said. 

“Salt in solution can impact on concrete and bricks, there is products that are more resistant to salinity that is being made, but generally mortar and bricks are quite susceptible to high level of salinity and they will crumble or gradually break-down.”

The Launceston Salinity Action Group managed the strategy development project, which was jointly funded for $95,000 by the three participating councils.

Mr Brownlea said the next step was training and advising people on how to manage salinity.

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