Adapting To Sea Level Rise

Adapting to sea level rise is critical to the well-being of the community as it provides a course of action to be taken when the risk to erosion or inundation becomes too great. This helps to create communities that are more resilient to the effects of climate change including sea level rise.

The Western Australian Government coastal planning policy State Coastal Planning Policy No. 2.6 or SPP 2.6 provides a framework for undertaking risk management and adaptation planning for coastal hazards in Western Australia.

The Policy has established an adaptation hierarchy to manage the risk from climate change, sea level rise, coastal erosion and inundation which includes avoid the risk, undertake a planned or managed retreat from the risk, accommodate for the risk or protect from the risk as four broad categories of potential adaptation options. More here

Hierarchy of Adaptation Options

  1. Avoid the risk. Identify future ‘no build areas’ and use planning tools to prevent new development in areas at risk now or in the future.
  2. Undertake a planned or managed retreat from the risk. Withdraw, relocate or abandon assets that are at risk and allow ecosystems to retreat landward as sea levels rise.
  3. Accommodate for the risk. Continue to use the land but accommodate changes by building in piles growing salt tolerant crops or converting from agriculture to aquaculture.
  4. Protect from the risk. Use hard structure (sea walls) or soft solutions (dunes and vegetation) to protect land from the sea.

 More information on adaptation options here

Some of these option may even be combined to develop a plan of action.  The cost of the response, the cost of the avoided impacts, land use, value of the land and the length of time protection will be needed must all be taken into consideration.

Hierarchy of adaptation options graphic