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Detailed Project Report submitted for offshore artificial southern reef in Puducherry

A view of the Beach Promenade in Puducherry. A second offshore reef is expected to come up on the southern side of the Promenade

Posted on January 18, 2023

A Detailed Project Report (DPR) for construction of an offshore artificial southern reef as part of a hybrid solution to address rampant erosion of Puducherry’s coastline and restore the city’s pristine beach has been submitted to the Puducherry Government by the National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Based on a request from the territorial government to mitigate the problem caused by coastal erosion, the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), also under the Ministry of Earth Sciences studied detailed coastal processes including nearshore currents of the coastline, wave characteristics and constructed the first offshore artificial reef on the northern side of Puducherry’s coastline. Work on the northern reef began in 2017 and was completed in 2019.

“The successful deployment of the reef by NIOT helped in reducing wave activity and allowed sand to freely move towards the north to prevent erosion along the coastline.

However, the objective is for the union territory’s coastline to be more resilient and without the southern reef in place, the beaches to the south may be unstable and may disappear once the nourishment is terminated.

The project is proposed to be taken up under the Smart City. Once the DPR is approved, on-ground implementation will commence,” an official said.

According to M.V. Ramana Moorthy, Director of NCCR, “The second reef is needed to prevent sand spilling from the city back towards the port. The southern reef will capture sand arriving from the north during the north-east monsoon and ensure that all nourishment takes place on the city’s beach. Implementation of the proposed hybrid solution (beach nourishment and two reefs) would not only protect the coast but also restore the lost beach.”

According to him, the southern reef will serve multiple purposes and would be beneficial to the economy, environment, tourism, and well-being of the coastal communities in addition to its contribution to Puducherry’s beach restoration project.”

“The proposed southern reef is expected to form a small tombolo, which leads to good trapping of sand and reduces the volume of sand returning to the port from the nourished beach. The offshore reef is proposed to be 165 meters long with six units of steel caissons placed at three-meter intervals.

The reef will be located near the new pier and the implementation of the southern reef will further widen the beach and make it sustainable during all seasons,” he said.

The National Centre for Coastal Research is also working with the Government of Tamil Nadu and a workshop on Marine Spatial Planning was conducted recently which also highlights how interstate issues of coastal protection are addressed, he said.

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