Autumn 2016

Water problems require global action

The climate is changing: the Earth continues to warm up; sea levels are rising, icecaps and glaciers are melting, storms are becoming more severe. This all has far-reaching consequences for islands and lower-lying countries. And it is not only the causes of this global warming that must be tackled, global measures are also necessary to prevent habitats from disappearing below sea level and infrastructure from being destroyed. 

TenCate develops and produces sustainable solutions for the protection of people in their working and living environment. Geosynthetic materials and systems are suitable for among other things water management, infrastructure and the environmental sector.

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Houses along the Tawi in the city of Jammu (India), which overflowed its banks as a result of heavy rainfall (photo: Q13FOX)

Climate change requires global action to combat the causes and measures to protect against flooding, storm damage and a shortage of fresh and clean water, in part through greater evaporation. Natural disasters can wreak havoc on infrastructure and the economy and take a heavy toll in human and animal life. Water forms one of the greatest crises worldwide: of all disasters, ninety per cent are related to water. 

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May 2014: a violent storm caused flooding in Shenzhen, a city of more than a million inhabitants in southern China, on the border with Hong Kong (photo: China Out AFP)

As a result of the slowing down of the Gulf Stream, sea levels are rising on the American eastern seaboard faster than anywhere else. In New York a new reports warns of the consequences of the rising sea level for the three local airports: LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark International Airport. In the context of dune repair, dune dykes using TenCate Geotube® containers were built along the coast of New Jersey from the 1990s up to 2010. These tubular containers used as dune core have proved resistant to the pounding waves caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. 

winter floods south china
Winter floods in South China

In Asia too they frequently have to contend with flooding. This year flooding in India and Nepal has cost hundreds of lives. As a result of continuing extreme weather conditions in China dozens of rivers have burst their banks this year, including the Yangtze; railway lines and motorways have subsided. In July extreme rainfall in Central and Southern China once again caused major flooding. The north of the capital city Jakarta is sinking into marshy soil by between 7.5 and 17 cm a year. It is predicted that the sea level will rise by 3 to 5 metres above street level in Jakarta in fifty years’ time. 

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More than eighty per cent of the coral islands in the Maldives lie less than a metre above sea level

Vanuatu, a group of islands to the east of Australia, appears to be one of the first inhabited areas that will soon be engulfed by the ocean. Inhabitants of islands in the Caribbean are also seeing parts of their coastlines slowly disappear, and it is precisely in the coastal zone that the population, fisheries and tourism are concentrated – with dire consequences for living conditions, the economy and fresh water supplies.

geosynthetics geodetect france equipment
Surveillance and monitoring of dykes results in a greater structural focus on geosynthetics with fibre optics, like TenCate GeoDetect® - a monitoring system based on geotextiles

TenCate Geosynthetics develops and produces sustainable solutions for the protection of people in their working and living environment. Geosynthetics like TenCate Geotube® and TenCate Geobag® are used to expand land, create and raise islands, to protect dykes, banks and shorelines against erosion and flooding and to treat polluted sludge or soil. By dewatering polluted sludge and storing this as a solid mass for a prolonged period, these tubular and pillow-shaped containers are suitable as dyke bodies or for raising the level of land. 

Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)