Sustainable solutions to coastal erosion in Sao Tome and Principe

Published: 24 April 2014

Deltares has completed an investigatory study looking at sustainable solutions to coastal erosion in the African island group of Sao Tome and Principe. The islands are severely affected by coastal erosion in a number of locations, in part as a result of climate change. The study was conducted at two specific locations to see whether a natural approach in the form of sand nourishment combined with dune-building and vegetation recovery is feasible.

Morphological, ecological and socio-economic impact of the sand nourishments

Deltares collected data at the locations, Malanza and Praia Burra, and entered them in models implemented in support to the nourishment and dredging works. The ecological impact was also studied and a monitoring plan of the nourishments was proposed. Support for the solution among the local inhabitants was also surveyed. The government will take a definitive decision on the basis of the study.

Een vrouw laat zien tot hoe hoog het water komt bij een overstroming

Woman shows the level reached by the water at her house during a flooding event

Sand nourishment is a flexible solution for sea-level rise

Alessio Giardino, the project manager: ‘Increasingly, we are seeing governments choosing natural solutions to coastal erosion. The advantage of sand is that it is very flexible. For example, it is easy to adapt it in response to sea-level rise and possible changes in the social structure of the communities (i.e. increase of number of people leaving at the coast). Furthermore, government agencies and the public are increasingly aware of the coastal system as a whole.’

Met de lokale bevolking in overleg over mogelijke adaptieve maatregelen

Meeting with local inhabitants to discuss about different possible adaptation options

Studies of the impact of climate change have already been conducted in the past

Deltares has been active in Sao Tome and Principe for some time now. January 2013 saw the completion of a study in relation to the impact of climate change for a number of villages in the two islands. A range of climate scenarios were drafted for the islands in collaboration with UNESCO-IHE and the consequences of the different scenarios were mapped out. Possible adaptive measures were also proposed based on sustainability as the guiding principle.

The exploratory study was conducted for the Ministry of Public Works and Natural Resources of Sao Tome and Principe. It was financed by the Global Environmental Facility and initiated by the World Bank.

Onderzoeker Alessio Giardino verzamelt monsters voor laboratoriumonderzoek

Researcher Alessio Giardino collects sediment sample on the bed for laboratory analysis