Friday, November 20, 2009

Dutch build more dunes against rising seas

Agence France-Presse: On the beach at Monster, bulldozers painstakingly turn sand dredged from the bottom of the North Sea bed into dunes in an ambitious effort to safeguard the Netherlands from flooding. Stretching more than 20 kilometres (15 miles) southwards from The Hague, the project is one of many in a never-ending battle against rising sea levels attributed to global warming.

"Because it is a low-lying delta, the Netherlands is very sensitive to climate change," Water Management Deputy Minister Tineke Huizinga told AFP on a recent visit to the bustling work site. "If sea and river levels rise, the Netherlands will be under threat," Huizinga said, walking in yellow boots along a pipeline of several hundred metres (yards) spewing out dredged sand.

"Fortunately, the coast is safe today, but we are investing in the security of people who will live here in 50 years." More than 18 million cubic metres of sand -- enough to fill 7,200 Olympic-sized swimming pools -- are set to be poured onto the new coastal band of dunes until 2011.

The project got underway last year at a total cost of 130 million euros (about 200 million dollars) to the Dutch state. Sand is dredged from the bottom of the North Sea, about 15 kilometres from shore, by two specialised vessels that work in turns, day and night, before being relayed to the beach via the pipeline. Bulldozers then amass the sand to create the dunes, broaden the beach and gain territory from the sea, metre by metre…..

A dune in Schoorl an Zee, Netherlands, shot by S.Möller

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