Inlet breached at record level

LISA MORRISONAlbany Advertiser

The annual breaching of Denmark’s Wilson Inlet happened on Tuesday, August 20, and it was the highest water level for the opening on record.

Water Corporation records dating back 53 years to 1960 show the 1.25m above-the-sea-level watermark reached this year was the highest in history, due to heavy winter rainfall.

After preparations on the Sunday morning before, a final trench was cut on the Tuesday morning in the sandbar separating the swollen inlet, with the waters of Ocean Beach to form one body of water.

Water Corporation Great Southern regional manager David Hughes-Owen said the sandbar was generally opened when the inlet reached 0.8m-1.1m above sea level.

“This range has been the norm over the past five or six years,” he said.

“The reason it was breached at a higher level this year was because of the extremely heavy rain over the days leading up to when the decision was made to excavate on Tuesday.”

A protocol for opening Wilson Inlet was established by the Shire of Denmark in 2008, after “comprehensive discussions” with various local parties over the opening of the channel.

Shire chief executive officer Dale Stewart said he hoped the high water level would provide a good exchange between the two bodies of water.

“Within a matter of a week it will hopefully be 50-100m wide and as deep as the tides will allow,” he said.

“Continuing water coming from the catchment together with another month or two of good rainfall in the remainder of winter and spring will be a very effective opening.”

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