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Guarding South African shores: A battle against beach erosion

Enhancing coastal resilience with Terraforce solutions


South Africa’s idyllic beaches faced another bout of severe damage in September 2023 due to a seasonal winter storm. In a recurring pattern, the confluence of high spring tides, fierce onshore winds, and colossal 9.5-meter waves wreaked havoc, impacting 50% of the southern coastline.

Composite retaining wall with foundation under sea level, in Ajman, Dubai

Composite retaining wall with foundation under sea level, in Ajman, Dubai

Understanding the nature of the challenge

Debates rage among experts over the root cause of these destructive storms. Some attribute them to man-made climate change, while others argue that these tempests are part of the natural phenomena that have influenced our climate for billions of years. Additionally, it’s worth noting that encroachment of infrastructure beyond the high-water mark in coastal areas contributes significantly to the damage experienced.

Terraforce sea wall, Herolds Bay, besides a small section that collapsed, withstood the unprecedented swell.

The Terraforce sea wall at Herolds Bay successfully withstood the unprecedented swell.

The resilience imperative

Regardless of the causes, we must respond with measured and sustainable strategies. The Western Cape Government has issued an extensive document titled “Informing Coastal Erosion Decision Making,” which provides valuable insights into managing this issue. READ THE DOCUMENT HERE.

Effective solutions: Terraforce® Blocks

In addressing this formidable challenge, Terraforce® blocks have emerged as a proven solution in several well-planned instances. Often used in conjunction with other methods, these blocks have demonstrated their efficacy over the years. Here are some case studies worth exploring:

1. Laguna Beach Seashore Protection (Terranews 13/S/1986)

2. Why and How to Protect Our Beaches? (Terranews 08/2018 – 8/2018)

3. Standing Strong: Herolds Bay Sea Wall (Terranews 10/2019 – 10/2019)

Legislation and guidelines

It’s essential to be aware of the legal framework governing coastal protection. Section 15 of the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act (NEM:ICMA) prohibits erosion protection measures in the coastal zone unless they are meticulously planned and approved through the prescribed channels. For expert guidance in this regard, we can provide assistance or connect you with design professionals well-versed in coastal protection.

Laguna Beach erosion control

Implementing Beachfront Erosion Control with Terraforce Retaining Blocks in Laguna Beach, Durban.

Effective beachfront erosion control

Utilising Terraforce® retaining blocks has proven to be an effective strategy for beachfront erosion control. The following successful applications showcase their utility:

1. Beachfront Erosion Control with Terraforce Retaining Blocks, Laguna Beach, Durban

2. Seaside Erosion Control with Terraforce, Laguna Beach, Durban

Best practices for coastal resilience

To effectively combat beach erosion, it’s imperative to adopt best practices:

1. Accept and live with erosion: Recognise erosion as a natural process and adapt to it.

2. Collective response: Collaborate with local communities to develop a unified strategy.

3. Follow coastal management recommendations: Abide by recommendations from coastal management authorities.

4. Work with, not against, natural processes: Align strategies with nature’s dynamics.

5. Replace lost sand: Where possible, replenish lost sand to maintain beach integrity.

6. Hard engineered solutions only in exceptional cases: Implement engineered solutions sparingly, as a last resort.

7. Be prepared: Develop a proactive plan to address beach erosion.

If you’re unsure about how to proceed, please reach out to your local licensed Terraforce® supplier or contact Terraforce directly at their headquarters in Cape Town:

– Phone: 021 465 1907
– Mobile: 083 658 1056
– Email: [email protected]
– Web: [www.terraforce.com](https://www.terraforce.com)

Mossel Bay erosion control.

Providing seashore protection at The Point, Mossel Bay.

Protecting our shores

In conclusion, as South Africa grapples with the ongoing challenge of beach erosion, Terraforce® blocks have proven themselves as a reliable ally in preserving our stunning coastline. By adopting sustainable strategies and working in harmony with nature, we can enhance our coastal resilience and ensure the protection of our cherished beaches.

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