Water erosion

Soil erosion resulting from water is a major issue for Australian agriculture. The annual direct cost of water erosion to dryland farming in Western Australia is estimated to be around $10.1 million. Water erosion is usually associated with intense rainfall events combined with inappropriate tillage practice, poor ground surface cover, steep slopes and a lack of surface water flow-control structures. The department can provide technical information to landholders to reduce water erosion hazard by recommending best practice land management. Technical information is also available to assist with remediating existing erosion.


  • Gully erosion is a severe form of land degradation affecting infrastructure, paddock management and property access.

  • Flooding in the Gascoyne River Catchment during the summer of 2010–11 caused the loss of an estimated 9 million tonnes of soil from erosion, and a damage bill of about $90 million.

  • Surface water management is needed wherever water erosion is a risk and where water movement control or water harvesting is required, and as part of a salinity management program.

  • Following a fire, the risk of water erosion is greatly increased on bare paddocks.

  • Protecting your water supply from contamination should be a high priority after a fire.

  • The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) carries out the requirements of the Soil and Land Conservation Act 1945 to mitigate and prevent land degradation throu

  • Members of the public can lodge a complaint about observed land management with the Commissioner of Soil and Land Conservation in Western Australia, and the Commissioner will then investigate the c

  • Water erosion occurs when raindrops hit the soil surface and displace soil particles, and when water flowing over the land surface moves soil particles.

  • We recommend using a natural or constructed grassed waterway to allow safe movement of surface water across the natural landscape, and from dams, the end of grade banks and other surface water disp

  • We recommend constructing grade banks to intercept and divert surface water run-off into storage or waterways, to limit soil erosion.