In most years, the Wilson Inlet bar is opened, primarily to mitigate against flooding adjacent low-lying land. The timing and location of the opening is managed by the Water Corporation as per an agreed protocol.

2020 Bar opening

12:30pm Thursday 13 August 2020

In 2020, the Wilson Inlet bar was opened by dredging a channel between the ocean and the inlet. The inlet water level at the time of opening was 1.17 m AHD (height above sea level) and the channel was cut approximately 100 m from the western cliffs’ reference point. Approximately 6 GL of water was discharged to the ocean in the first 24 hours after opening.

The outgoing flow scoured the bar to a width of approximately 40 m by Friday 14 August.

Using a drone, Cliff Ford captured footage of the inundation of land along Ocean Beach Road before the bar’s opening, the opening itself and discharge of the inlet’s water into the ocean.

2018 Bar opening

12:00pm Thursday 23 August 2018

In 2018, the bar was opened by dredging a channel to the ocean with two openings into the Inlet. Storm events in July 2018 caused large amounts of sand to be dumped onto the sand bar making it unusually large compared to recent years.

The inlet water level at the time of opening was 1.07 m AHD and the channel was cut approximately 100 m from the Western cliffs reference point. Approximately 13.5 GL of water was discharged to the ocean in the first 24 hours post-opening.

The outgoing flow scoured the bar to a width of approximately 100 m by Friday 24 August.

The Inlet height, the opening, impact on the bar and ocean discharge was captured with a drone by Ash Ramsay (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, South West region).

2017 Bar opening

12:30pm Thursday 24th August 2017

In 2017, the bar was opened by dredging a channel to the ocean at an Inlet water level of 1.27 m AHD and 100 metres from the Western cliffs reference point.

This was the highest bar opening since 1978 which had an estimated elevation of 1.25 m AHD at the time of opening.

Approximately 27 GL of water (~14 per cent of the Inlet volume) was discharged to the ocean in the first 24 hours post-opening. The volumetric flow rate was recorded as 210 m³/s on the Friday at 2 pm. The high water level and strong flow effectively scoured the bar to a width of approximately 150 metres.

The Inlet height, the opening, impact on the bar and ocean discharge was captured with a drone by Ash Ramsay (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, South West region).