Tabourie Lake Entrance Management Review

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

Shoalhaven City Council is currently reviewing the Entrance Management Policy for Tabourie Lake.

In conjunction with the NSW Government, Council is responsible for managing the entrance of Tabourie Lake for the purpose of flood mitigation. Due to the historical development of the catchment and development of the floodplain, low-lying properties are at risk of flooding under certain rainfall and entrance conditions. The Tabourie Lake Entrance Management Policy and Review of Environmental Factors (Peter Spurway & Assoc., 2005) (pdf 500KB) documents the procedure for opening the Lake.

This document has been in place for over 10 years now, and since then

Shoalhaven City Council is currently reviewing the Entrance Management Policy for Tabourie Lake.

In conjunction with the NSW Government, Council is responsible for managing the entrance of Tabourie Lake for the purpose of flood mitigation. Due to the historical development of the catchment and development of the floodplain, low-lying properties are at risk of flooding under certain rainfall and entrance conditions. The Tabourie Lake Entrance Management Policy and Review of Environmental Factors (Peter Spurway & Assoc., 2005) (pdf 500KB) documents the procedure for opening the Lake.

This document has been in place for over 10 years now, and since then, Council has also updated the Tabourie Lake Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan (FRMS&P) with better information. The FRMS&P was completed in 2016, and one of the recommended actions in the FRMS&P was to review the Draft EMP in light of the improved understanding of flood behaviour.

Therefore, Council has engaged consultants Cardno (NSW/ACT) to undertake a review of the document to ensure best practice is achieved in managing flood risk.

Background

Tabourie Lake is an ICOLL or Intermittently Closed and Open Lake or Lagoon. At times, the Lake is blocked off from the open ocean by a sand berm. The sand berm is formed by wave action across the estuary entrance. When the entrance is closed, there is no tidal flushing of the estuary and the water levels are largely controlled by catchment rainfall, with some potential for waves to overtop the berm. When Lake water levels rise in response to rainfall, the entrance berm may be breached and scoured away by floodwaters.

Due to the presence of low-lying development around the Lake, Council applies the Entrance Management Plan (Spurway and Assoc., 2005) to manage the impacts of flooding on infrastructure and properties. The Plan provides for mechanical opening of the Lake entrance by Council to artificially lower water levels.

Under the current Plan, the entrance is mechanically opened by Council when:

  • Lake water levels are equal to, or in excess of, 1.17 m AHD initiates an immediate entrance opening; or
  • Lake water levels stabilise after rainfall at a level between 1.00 m and 1.17 mAHD and a period of over two months has elapsed since attaining that level, resulting in nuisance flooding of foreshore land.

Given the significant amount of time that has passed since the EMP was prepared, and acknowledging the changes in the catchment and improved understanding of flood behaviour, Council is currently reviewing the EMP.

  • Project Update

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Shoalhaven City Council opened Lake Tabourie to the sea on 21 June 2021. The water level in Lake Tabourie reached a height of 1.21m, triggering the need to mechanically open the lake in accordance with the Tabourie Lake Entrance Management Policy.

    The community are requested to keep away from the edges of the dug channel and eroding banks following the opening, as these areas can be very unstable and unsafe.

  • Lake Tabourie/Wairo Beach Remediation Works

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    On 6 January 2021 Council filled a small channel that had been dug between Lake Tabourie and the ocean at Wairo Beach. This channel had been illegally made using shovels over the Christmas period and was repaired in the interest of public safety and the health of the lake.

    Council operates an Entrance Management Policy (EMP) for Lake Tabourie (and other coastal lakes in the Shoalhaven region) with licences from various State Government Agencies. This EMP allows Council to mechanically open Lake Tabourie to the ocean with an excavator to prevent flooding of low-lying properties surrounding the lake when the water level rises to a specific trigger level. This typically occurs following a large rainfall event in the Lake Tabourie catchment. The trigger level to undertake a mechanical opening of Lake Tabourie was not reached over the Christmas period when the small channel was made.

    This small channel, between Lake Tabourie and the ocean, could have resulted in the lake artificially opening at too low a water level and in unsuitable conditions. This could have had significant adverse environmental impacts on Lake Tabourie, such as low oxygen levels and associated fish kills.

    It is an offence to open coastal lakes, or lagoons, using machinery or by hand without a licence and could result in penalties of up to $220,000 per offence.

    By working together Lake Tabourie will remain a pristine and beautiful location for current and future generations to enjoy.

    Above are images of the illegal channel and completed repairs to Wairo Beach.


  • Presentation Provided at Community Workshop

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    21 February 2019

    A presentation on the Tabourie Lake Entrance Management Policy (EMP) Review was provided to the local community at a Community Workshop held on 20 February 2019 at the Tabourie Lake Rural Fire Service (RFS) Shed.

    A copy of the presentation has been added to the project page.

    Due to feedback received at the workshop, the survey has been extended for another month to enable more time for feedback.

    The project team would like to thank all community members who took the time to attend the session.
  • Survey Close Date Extended

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    21 February 2019

    Council is currently reviewing the Entrance Management Policy for Tabourie Lake and consulting the community on the draft Policy via a survey.

    The survey opened on 21 January 2019 and was due to close on 22 February. However, due to community feedback, the survey close date has been extended for a month to allow more time for comments.

    The survey will now close on 22 March 2019.

    Complete the survey now
  • Provide Feedback on the draft Entrance Management Policy for Tabourie Lake

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    21 January 2019

    Council is currently reviewing the Entrance Management Policy for Tabourie Lake.

    Previous community engagement has been undertaken, including asking the community to indicate their preferred management option for the Lake.

    A draft Entrance Management Policy has been developed and is now exhibited for members of the community to review and provide comment.

    Please review the draft Policy and provide your feedback via the below form.

    View the Full Document - Draft Entrance Management Policy - Tabourie Lake(External link)

    View the Summary Document - Draft Entrance Management Policy - Tabourie Lake(External link)

    Feedback opened on 21 January 2019 and will close on 22 February 2019.

  • Provide Feedback - Take the Survey

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    15 August 2017

    Council invites you to ‘Get Involved’ and participate in a survey asking for the community to indicate their preferred management options for Tabourie Lake. Your feedback on this review will play an important role in the project.

    The survey is now open and will close on 15 September 2017.

    Complete the Survey (this link will take you to another site)

    A hard copy of the survey is available on request. Please contact Ali Sevenler, Shoalhaven City Council on (02) 4429 3237.

    Feedback received during this consultation period will assist with decision making on the best way forward and preferred options will be modelled. A future workshop is being planned to inform the community of the outcomes of the project.

  • Community Workshop Presentation

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    August 2017

    Council held a community workshop at Lake Tabourie Rural Fire Shed on the evening of Monday 9 August 2017.

    The workshop was held to discuss the progress of the Tabourie Lake Entrance Management Review project and to receive feedback from the community regarding the proposed options. The workshop was well received by those who attended.

    Consultants Cardno provided a presentation which was followed by question time and a discussion with Council staff and the Consultants. A copy of the slides from the presentation has been provided below.

    View the workshop presentation slides (pdf 2.75MB)