REQUIRED IMPROVEMENT COASTAL PROTECTION FOR BEIRA
The coastal city of Beira is vulnerable to coastal erosion, tropical storms, sea-level rise, coastal and urban floods and extreme rainfall events. The intensity is expected to increase in the future. A significant improvement of the coastal protection scheme is needed to provide sufficient protection for Beira against hazards from sea for decades to come. This need for action and investments was emphasized again by Cyclone Idai in 2019. Using nature-based, integrated and tailor-made solutions for the diverse coastline of Beira, the threats to the livelihoods can be greatly reduced including significant co-benefits for spatial quality and socio-economic development.
The overarching project goal of this Beira Coastal Protection project is to create a long-term, high level of safety against coastal flooding including an increased climate resilience for Beira. The key challenge is to obtain approval and agreement from different stakeholders and local communities for a sustainable solution which can be realized within the budget available, while also enhancing awareness of the importance of improved coastal protection for the city of Beira.
This project is funded by Invest International with involvement WB and KfW, the municipality of Beira and AIAS. The consortium was led by Royal HaskoningDHV, with subcontractors Deltares (modelling, coastal system, stakeholder engagement), Witteveen+Bos (contribution design), Metier (institutional roadmap) and Partners for Resilience (social safeguards, consultations).
Existing mangrove patch and old seawall in front of the city centre of Beira.
Existing coastal road with residences along southern coastline of Beira.
THE SOLUTIONS: STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT AND SOFT SOLUTIONS
More than half of Beira’s coastline is sandy and/ or muddy, which creates a perfect opportunity to strengthen it with nature-based solutions, such as mangrove belts and restoration and/or revegetation of dune ridges. An intensive virtual stakeholder engagement process was set up, despite of the Covid travel and meeting restrictions. This included intensive discussions and explanations about the pros and cons of different solutions (hard versus soft solutions, ecosystem services and co-benefits of Nature-based Solutions) to gain support and increase awareness.
The selected technical solution consists primarily of a soft solution, in which the existing dune ridges around Beira are restored/ strengthened and (re)vegetated. Additional foreshore nourishments aim to compensate for erosion losses expected over the coming decades in an adaptive manner. Hard revetments and floodwalls are only implemented locally at specific short stretches where soft solutions are really not feasible (limited space, higher certainty required).
The impact on remaining mangrove patches is minimized in the design, such that they stay in place as wave dampening buffer. Additionally, the option to strengthen the coastal belt by stimulating growth of mangroves in the foreshore (making it shallower and more suitable for mangroves by dumping fine sediments dredged from the navigation channel) is taken along to the next phase for further research.
The integrated approach and the focus on soft solutions are both quite new for Mozambique. With this approach, the system of the city, port and coastal stretches are considered as a whole so that positive impacts are enhanced, and negative impacts are mitigated for the lowest cost during lifetime.
Existing dune ridge and vegetation eastern coastline of Beira.
OUTPUT AND MAIN PROJECT BENEFITS
Our project resulted in a feasible and flexible/ adaptive design for the coastal protection scheme, benefiting the city’s population of appr. half a million. More specifically, the vulnerable population of Praia Nova is protected from the frequent flooding they are experiencing right now. The project triggers further mangrove development in the foreshore (habitat improvement, ecosystem services) and urban integration opportunities such as walkways, coastal parcs and redevelopment of the fishery port at Praia Nova. These optional items will be assessed, selected, and integrated into the detailed design for the coastal protection scheme further in the next phase.
Integrated solutions: coastal protection scheme proposed for Beira.