Seaham Weir Pool Erosion Management Plan
Property planning with landownersView timeline
Seaham Weir Pool EMP project team
The section of the Williams River between the Seaham Weir and Clarence Town (known as the Seaham Weir Pool) is highly valued by the local community, landholders, boaters and businesses.
Importantly, around half the water in Grahamstown Dam is pumped from the weir pool on an ongoing basis, providing drinking water for over half a million people in the Lower Hunter.
Right now, the weir pool requires active intervention to stop ongoing bank erosion.
To address the problem, several government agencies have collaborated to develop an Erosion Management Plan for Seaham Weir Pool. Agencies include Hunter Water, Transport for NSW, Hunter Local Land Services, DPI-Fisheries and Port Stephens and Dungog Shire councils.
The draft Erosion Management Plan was on public exhibition from Tuesday 25 October to Tuesday 22 November 2022. During this time, a total of 45 meetings and discussions were held with potentially directly affected landowners in the project area and 23 formal submissions were received.
After consideration of the feedback received during the public exhibition period, the Seaham Weir Pool Erosion Management Plan has been finalised. Following a meeting on 4 April 2023 of the Interagency Working Group, the final Plan has now been released.
The final Plan is a product of expert studies, government agency expertise, and feedback from the local community, landholders, boaters and other waterway users.
The Plan seeks to balance the long-term viability of this drinking water source with ecological values and community and landholder use, ensuring everyone can enjoy the waterway in a sustainable and responsible manner.
Hunter Water has been appointed by the Minister for Lands and Water to deliver Actions 2, 4 and 5 of the final Plan. Transport for NSW is the lead agency for Actions 1 and 3. To ensure coordination in the delivery of actions from across all agencies, Hunter Water has been appointed as chair of the Seaham Weir Pool Erosion Management Inter Agency Working Group.
Proposed bank remediation program
The Plan includes a program of remediation work to repair and stabilise eroding river banks. For severely eroded stretches, work may involve a combination of engineered rock and/or log structures, bank revegetation, weed removal and stock exclusion.
Stretches with less severe erosion will likely involve revegetation on the top of banks, weed removal and stock exclusion.
The remediation program is being funded by Hunter Water and the NSW Government.
Transport for NSW’s existing boating management plan for the weir pool will be retained to sustain the social and economic benefits recreational boating brings to the local community.
Transport for NSW will lead ongoing boating education and enhanced boating compliance. In response to submissions received during the public exhibition period, Transport for NSW will explore additional options to enhance boating education and compliance activities on the Weir Pool, including improved education materials about the Boating Management Plan. Transport for NSW will also enhance the presence of Boating Education officers and Boating Safety Officers during the boating season.
Some additional temporary boating restrictions are expected to be required during bank remediation works, causing short-term inconvenience to some river users. Any temporary restrictions will be communicated to local residents and weir pool users in advance where possible.
The program of remediation work will help improve the long-term resilience of the weir pool’s banks so boaters can continue to enjoy the waterway.
Public exhibition of Williams River Erosion study and report
Transport for NSW seeks feedback on the University of NSW’s Water Research Laboratory report titled: 2015 Riverbank Vulnerability Assessment using a Decision Support System: Seaham Weir Pool and Lower Williams River.
Review of stakeholder and community feedback
The NSW Government establishes an inter-agency working group to review community feedback on the report, and support the development of the draft Seaham Weir Pool Erosion Management Plan
Public exhibition of draft Seaham Weir Pool Erosion Management Plan
The community is invited to comment on the draft Erosion Management Plan.
Direct engagement with landholders for bank remediation starts
Review of community and stakeholder feedback
The interagency working group considers all feedback to finalise the Erosion Management Plan.
Seaham Weir Pool Erosion Management Plan adopted
Property planning with landowners
Property based plans discussed with individual landowners
Questions and answers
Why are Hunter Water and the NSW Government investing in erosion management?
Is our drinking water safe if water quality in the weir pool is a concern?
Are there any plans to introduce further boating restrictions for the Seaham Weir Pool?
What consultation has occurred already?