Land Degradation and Salinity Risk Project

Land use has been trending away from traditional grazing enterprises to activities like: 

  • intensive cropping

  • irrigated cropping

In the past land use intensification has occurred by transferring technology and experience from one area to another. However, as the soils and climate are often different this has, on occasion, resulted in considerable damage to the soil and economic losses to the farmer.

This project was initiated to identify some of the risks and hazards in three selected study areas around the State which are 

  • Waterhouse

  • Tunbridge

  • the Coal River Valley

The report is available in pdf as an overarching report and split into specific regions:

 Overarching Report (PDF 479Kb)

Coal River:

 Land Degradation Salinity Risk Project - Coal River Valley Report (PDF 1Mb)

 Coal River Valley Map 1a - Dominant Soils of the Coal River Valley (PDF 11Mb)

 Coal River Map 1b - Salinity Classes of the Coal River Valley (PDF 11Mb)

 Coal River Map 1c - Areas of Sodicity Risk (PDF 11Mb)


 Land Degradation Salinity Risk Project - Tunbridge District Report (PDF 2Mb)

 Tunbridge District Map 2a - Dominant Soils (PDF 5Mb)

 Tunbridge District Map 2b - Salinity Classes (PDF 5Mb)

 Tunbridge District Map 2c - Areas of Sodicity Risk (PDF 5Mb)

 Tunbridge District Map 2d - Areas of Waterlogging risk (PDF 5Mb)

 Tunbridge District Map 2e - Wind Erosion Risk (PDF 5Mb)


 Land Degradation Salinity Risk Project - Waterhouse District Report (PDF 3Mb)

 Waterhouse District Map 3a - Dominant Soils (PDF 9Mb)

 Waterhouse District map 3b - Wind Erosion Risk (PDF 9Mb)

 Waterhouse District Map 3c - Waterlogging Risk (PDF 8Mb)

 Waterhouse District Map 3d - Salinity Classes (PDF 9Mb)

Additional reports and studies:

 Land Degradation Salinity Risk Project - Modelling Report (PDF 850Kb)

 Land Degradation Salinity Risk Project - Hydrological Studies (PDF 397Kb)

 Land Degradation Salinity Risk Project - Communications Strategy (PDF 669Kb)

About the project

​The project involved a range of activities at each study site. These included:

  • A resource inventory and hazard identification, incorporating soil and unique area mapping (UMA), soil physical characterisation and salinity surveys (using an EM31 instrument) and assessment of the contribution of rainfall to the salt budget.

  • A review of salinity and water balance models available that might assist with predicting impacts of land use change on the water balance; and

  • Investigations of groundwater flow systems to determine their relevance to salinity processes in each study area.

Salinity Hazard Assessment​​​

A number of activities were undertaken in each area to determine the risk of expanding salinity as a result of land use intensification.

Estimates of below ground salt storage were made using an EM31 instrument. This tool simply sends an electromagnetic signal into the ground and captures the strength of the return signal which is related to the amount of salt storage to a depth of about 5 metres. 

The data collected was used to generate maps of sub surface salt storage for each study area. Table 1 provides details of the extent of each salinity class identified.

Non Saline
Slightly Saline 2-4 dS/m
Moderately Saline 4-8 dS​​/m
Very Saline
8-16 dS/m
Extremely Saline > 16 dS/m
Coal River Valley

Table 1. Areas of land (ha) within the various salinity classes (ECese) in each study area