Coastal Adaptation Planning Frequently Asked Questions

The impact of coastal hazards on our coastline is expected to increase going into the future. This is due to the effects of sea level rise and climate change. Coastal erosion and the inundation of low-lying coastal areas are already occurring on sections of our coast. Under projected climate change and sea level rise scenarios, the risks of these hazards occurring is likely to increase in the future.

In response, the City of Greater Geraldton has recently conducted Coastal Erosion and Inundation Studies (CEIS). These identify coastal areas that are at risk of coastal erosion and coastal inundation over the next 100 years.  The City is now developing a Coastal Hazard Risk Management Adaption Plan (CHRMAP). This will examine ways in which our communities can adapt to these types of risks.

To help better understand the project a short list of frequently asked questions has been compiled below.


What are coastal erosion and inundation studies?

The City has completed a number of Coastal Erosion and Inundation Studies. These capture the geographical extents of coastal and inundation hazards over the 100-year planning time frame. The Studies comply with State Coastal Planning Policy No. 2.6 (SPP2.6) and involve detailed modelling and assessment of:

  • Storm surge modelling to determine the potential inundation caused by:
    • Cyclonic events;
    • Non-cyclonic events; and
    • Tsunami events.

  • Modelling the potential beach and dune erosion caused by a severe storm event;
  • Assessment of historical and potential future shoreline movement caused by the action of natural coastal processes; and
  • Assessment of the effects of potential sea level rise on the coastal inundation and erosion.

The City engaged specialist coastal and port engineers, MP Rogers & Associates Pty Ltd who conducted three studies on the following coastal areas:


What is a Coastal Hazard Risk Management Adaptation Plan (CHRMAP)?

A CHRMAP process translates the technical information in the CEIS to identify vulnerable land, assets and values at risk from the coastal hazards. It utilises local knowledge, strategic planning and economic modelling to identify adaptation pathways. These pathways and the ways in which they were developed will be presented in a document for adoption by Council. This document will guide the development of statutory planning controls and coastal investment into the future. The outcomes and recommendations of the CHRMAP will act as a guiding document for the future development, mitigation, monitoring and investment around coastal areas that are at risk of coastal erosion and inundation over the next 100 years.  The extent of coastline covered in the CHRMAP is highlighted below.

Site Map

Why is the CHRMAP being undertaken now?

Geraldton’s coastline is already being impacted by coastal hazards, such as erosion, and this is expected to increase in the future as a result of climate change and rising sea levels. In an effort to address the adverse impacts of coastal hazards, national and international coastal planning practices are addressing these issues through a risk management approach.  This approach ensures that coastal hazards are appropriately factored into the decision-making processes for sustainable land use and development in coastal zones.  

 The State Government’s SPP2.6 - Coastal Planning Policy provides the framework for undertaking risk management and adaptation planning for Western Australia’s coastal hazards. Section 4 of the SPP2.6 Guidelines provides an introduction to coastal hazard risk management and adaptation planning and a copy of the guidelines is available here

Who is preparing the CHRMAP?

The City is preparing the CHRMAP with the assistance of a highly skilled team of coastal hazard and risk assessment, statutory and strategic planning, economic/ financial/public policy and community engagement experts.


What will the outcomes of the CHRMAP be?

The CHRMAP will develop a plan to address future risks identified in the CEIS. The components of a CHRMAP include:

  • coastal hazard risk identification and assessment;
  • coastal risk evaluation based on community and stakeholder engagement;
  • identification of adaptation options to mitigate coastal hazard risk; and
  • assessment of adaptation options to identify preferred options.

 It should be noted that the CHRMAP process understands the uncertainty associated with coastal change predictions and provides flexible decision-making pathways that the City can use over time as coastal hazards are realised.


What are the different types of coastal hazards?

The State Coastal Planning Policy identifies and describes the various types of coastal hazards that need addressing through coastal adaptation and management planning:

  • Erosion refers to shoreline movement where the shoreline shifts landward, reducing the width of a coastal foreshore reserve and/or the distance to an affixed feature on the adjoining land; and
  • Inundation means the flow of water onto previously dry land. It may either be permanent (for example due to sea level rise) or a temporary occurrence during a storm event.


What are the different types of coastal assets?

The CHRMAP Guidelines provided by the Department of Planning Heritage and Environment describes a coastal asset as:

  • Something that has potential or actual value to an organisation [or community].
  • A value can be tangible or intangible, financial or non-financial.

A coastal asset can be physical (i.e. a road or a building), natural (i.e. vegetation or a reserve), social (i.e. walking), economic (i.e. tourism) or cultural (i.e. a meeting place) which can be directly or indirectly impacted by coastal hazards.


 What are CHRMAP adaptation pathways?

Adaptation pathways are a series of complementary adaptation options that follow the CHRMAP adaptation hierarchy. Adaptation options are set out in the State Planning Policy 2.6:

  • ‘Avoidance’ - avoid the presence of new development within an area identified to be affected by coastal hazards.
  • ‘Planned or Managed Retreat’ - the relocation or removal of assets within an area identified as likely to be subject to intolerable risk of damage from coastal hazards over the planning time frame.
  • ‘Accommodation’ – design and/or management strategies that render the risks from the identified coastal hazards acceptable.
  • ‘Protection’ - areas where there is a need to preserve the foreshore reserve, public access and public safety, property and infrastructure that is not expendable.

Adaptation pathways are designed to include trigger points. These will trigger a management action to implement the identified adaptation option. For example, a storm event may trigger the managed retreat of an asset.

How will my property be affected?

The CEIS provides details of properties that lie within the identified coastal hazard risks zones. Please refer to the CEIS to determine the extent to which your property may be at risk of being affected:

 As part of CHRMAP process, areas identified in the CEIS as being at risk of coastal hazards will be the focus of future monitoring and assessment, to better understand and define the coastal hazard risk.


How will this affect my insurance?

According to the Insurance Council of Australia, the coastal risks of storm surge, coastal erosion and gradual sea level rise are excluded by many general insurance policies in Australia. Therefore, home/business owners should ensure they are familiar with their policy and are aware of what risks the policy will not cover. The City has already undertaken Coastal erosion and inundation studies for the area from Cape Burney to Drummond Cove. For more information on general policy initiatives of the Insurance Council of Australia here

More information on the role of insurance in coastal adaptation planning here


 What is the timeline for the development of the CHRMAP Report?

CHRMAP Timeline Flowchart here

CHRMAP Timeline Flowchart