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Wagga Wagga Showground

Wagga Wagga Showground

Wagga Wagga showground is the place where the problem of urban salinity was first identified in the Wagga Wagga region.

In 1993 the Wagga Wagga Show Society redeveloped the showground arena. When completed, attempts to re-establish the grass in the middle of the lowered showground arena failed. Council and NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation investigated and found that saline groundwater was within 20 centimetres of the surface of the showground.

With the identification of this problem at the showground came the realisation that there were other effects of salinity in the surrounding urban area. Authorities realised that issues such as damaged roads and footpaths, rising damp in houses and dying trees and lawns were also caused by salinity. A major study of the subsurface hydrology in the area subsequently identified that areas near the showground and Calvary Hospital were groundwater discharge areas. Wagga Wagga Council undertook major engineering works at the showground, including building a subsurface drainage system and associated evaporative pan in Urana St.

The identification of salinity at the showground, and the need to address the potential consequences of salinity in Wagga Wagga urban areas, also led Council to develop joint urban salinity action plans with other government agencies and community organisations such as the Wagga Wagga Urban Landcare Group. These action plans have identified community education, revegetation, reduction in water leakage into recharge areas, and monitoring of sub-surface groundwater as priorities for action.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Emblem Park | Wagga Wagga Urban Landcare Group

The show ground has become a feature of salinity public education tours.
The showground has become a feature of salinity public education tours.
Photo: Ian Coates.
Wagga showground - where salinity was first identified in the Wagga urban area
Wagga showground - where salinity was first identified in the Wagga Wagga urban area. Photo: Ian Coates.
The showground continues to be a place where local students learn about salinity
The showground continues to be a place where local students learn about salinity.
Photo: Naomi Zouwer.
The basin next to Urana St
The basin next to Urana St allows the groundwater draining away from the showground site to evaporate.
Photo: Karen Giddings.