Salinity is the accumulation of salt in land and water to a level that impacts on the natural and built environment. Salinity occurs naturally in many parts of Australian but in many cases has been exacerbated where human activities accelerate the mobilisation and accumulation of salt. Today the spread of salinity impacts farms, irrigation areas, wetlands, rivers, drinking water and infrastructure. It is a national issue. It has taken many decades for the problem to emerge and will be with us for a long time to come. Solving it is a shared responsibility involving land managers, conservationists, Aboriginal communities, scientists, businesses and all levels of government. Ground water testing in Tumut and Adelong in 2007/08 revealed that salinity levels were low but we need to manage salinity well into the future. This work was jointly funded by the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority.
The following information is only provided as a basic guide to assist in recognising some of the common indicators of salinity. The assessment of salinity hazard and areas of potential risk is best done by experts. Further information on identifying salinity around your property is discussed in the booklet “Indicators of Urban Salinity” which was produced by the Department of Land and Water Conservation in 2002.
The items on the following checklist were taken from Good Housekeeping to Manage Urban Salinity and are either typical symptoms of urban salinity, or are processes which may contribute to urban salinity. It should be noted that some of these indicators may not be related to salinity at all and can be caused by other unrelated issues. Urban salinity is usually associated with a combination of these indicators, and any one indicator in isolation cannot be used to diagnose salinity.
Gardens and lawns
Plants seem to be stressed or dying.
Drainage and water
There are water logged areas that are present even when it hasn’t been raining recently. (Note: this could be due to broken pipes)
Recurring cracks or potholes in nearby roads or footpaths, not related to heavy traffic or other obvious causes.
What is Tumut Shire Council doing to combat Urban Salinity?
In 2009 Council completed the following projects in an attempt to help reduce the impacts of Urban Salinity:
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