Determination of the high water mark and its location along a coastline
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The High Water Mark (HWM) is an important cadastral boundary that separates land and water. It is also used as a baseline to facilitate coastal hazard management, from which land and infrastructure development is offset to ensure the protection of property from storm surge and sea level rise. However, the location of the HWM is difficult to define accurately due to the ambulatory nature of water and coastal morphology variations. Contemporary research has failed to develop an accurate method for HWM determination because continual changes in tidal levels, together with unimpeded wave runup and the erosion and accretion of shorelines, make it difficult to determine a unique position of the HWM. While traditional surveying techniques are accurate, they selectively record data at a given point in time, and surveying is expensive, not readily repeatable and may not take into account all relevant variables such as erosion and accretion.In this research, a consistent and robust methodology is developed for the determination of the HWM over space and time. The methodology includes two main parts: determination of the HWM by integrating both water and land information, and assessment of HWM indicators in one evaluation system. It takes into account dynamic coastal processes, and the effect of swash or tide probability on the HWM. The methodology is validated using two coastal case study sites in Western Australia. These sites were selected to test the robustness of the methodology in two distinctly different coastal environments.
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