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State may try Dutch technique of sand nourishment to fight coastal erosion

Posted on October 18, 2022

With almost 20 percent of Goa’s 139 km-long coastline ravaged by sand erosion, the State government is exploring the possibility of adopting the Netherlands’ strategy of creating a ‘Sand Motor’, a man made peninsula of sand that uses the forces of nature, like waves and currents, to spread and combat coastal erosion through ‘sand nourishment’.

The department of Environment and Climate Change intends to implement the project on a pilot basis, for the nourishment of beach stretches from Majorda to Betalbatim in South Goa, with technical and scientific support from the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

State Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral has approached the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) Bhupender Yadav for funding to implement the project.

The Sand Motor is a ‘mega-nourishment’ project implemented in the Delfland Coast (North Sea coast of South Holland, the Netherlands) to test the upscaling of regular sand nourishment along the Dutch coast, carried out by Rijkswaterstaat (the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management Works) since 1990.

Cabral said that some of Goa’s major beach stretches are threatened with coastal erosion and any drastic measures for control of erosion will not only ruin the aesthetics but also does not provide a permanent solution to the problem. Cabral further said that the southern part of Goa has a long beach stretch from Velsao in Mormugao taluka to Betul in Salcete taluka, which are eroding and require immediate attention.

“We have identified a solution to curb coastal erosion, which has been implemented in the Netherlands, known as Sand Motor,” he said.

The Minister explained that the project involves the extraction of offshore sand from the deep sea and deposition of the sand near the eroded beach or coast. The sand is then redistributed by natural processes. The Sand Motor acts as a buffer against sea level rise and also mitigates storm surges.

As per a study conducted by the National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), Chennai, 26.8 km of Goa’s shoreline has suffered from river and coastal erosion. A study by the State Water Resources department reveals that 19 Goan beaches face the threat of erosion.


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