Bluewaters Island, Geosynthetic Containers

20th Nov 2018
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Background

Ecocoast was contracted in 2015 to install a temporary erosion protection wall to cover approximately 500m of beach to protect Bluewaters Island in Dubai during construction works for a period of approximately 2-3 years.

Challenge

The ocean-facing strip of land on the newly reclaimed island off the coast of Dubai’s marina area was being subjected to severe erosion. This was encroaching upon the temporary roads and buildings involved in the development of the island, threatening to disrupt the ongoing construction work and cause substantial losses of time and costs. The protection structure needed to be cost-effective, quick to install and remove at the end of the construction works.

Solution

Ecocoast installed over 1,800 units of sand-filled geosynthetic containers. Geosynthetic containers have been used as an alternative solution for coastal protection or temporary marine structures for more than 50 years. They have a smaller footprint and lesser impact on the environment than hard structures, and are fabricated using specially engineered materials, to meet durability and environmental requirements.

The resulting erosion protection wall was a robust solution, enabling the client to avoid continually having to purchase sand and regularly re-nourish the beach whilst construction works on the island were ongoing.

Three Years Later

In 2018, we were asked to reinstate Bluewaters beach by removing the temporarily installed erosion protection wall, modifying the existing rock groynes, and reusing the sand from the geosynthetic containers for beach profiling and nourishment, as construction works had come to an end.

One of the reasons we opted for geosynthetic containers for the installation and construction of the erosion protection wall back in 2015, was their expected ease of removal, which showed all of its benefits at this stage of the project.

Some of the geosynthetic containers were re-purposed to form an impermeable barrier, in order to prevent sand migration through the existing rock groynes on the island. This was achieved by placing the containers alongside the groynes’ inner side as an additional impermeable layer, a much more sustainable solution.

Sand from the geosynthetic containers and from local accretion areas was used for beach profiling and nourishment, to create a useable beach. Sand from the local beach was screened, in order to reduce the amount of debris and larger particles, leaving the beach with properly graded sand only.

Remaining geotextile was removed and disposed of at a licensed disposal facility, ensuring an environmentally-friendly approach.

Result

The project resulted in a 5-star beach with high exposure to waves, creating the perfect experience for guests. The beach is protected from sand loss because of the groynes on the sides and submerged beach toe along its length.

Regular maintenance and cleaning will ensure that Bluewaters beach will remain one of the most iconic beaches in Dubai and a valuable asset for the managing body.