Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4


A F. McCrea


Dams, Site class assessment, Soil types, Western Australia

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Before 1980, the Department of Agriculture did not believe that suitable farm dam materials could be found in light land soils. However Beacon earthmoving contractor, V> J> Pavlinovich, has demonstrated that where suitable cemented subsoils or 'hardpan' existed, a succcessful dam site could be found.

This material should not be confused with compaction or traffic hardpans ehich are dense layers of soil found near the surface. Traffic hardpans result from compaction of soil materials with the passage of vehicles and farm machinery. Rather, the hardpan referred to here is a natural subsoil layer that has been cemented by silica and exists at depths greater than one metre below the surface. This hardpan has been locally described as 'rock' or 'sandstone'.

As about half the north-eastern wheatbelt is mapped as being sandplain, this opens a new prospest for potential dam site where suitable hardpan exists. The potential may apply to extensive areas of similar soils elswhere in the agricultural area.