Autumn 2014

Protecting the Maldives

Beaches that have to cope with storm surge events and heavy sea swell require protection from erosion. This applies particularly when they form the setting for islands in a vulnerable area of rich natural beauty, such as the Maldives. Then geotextile systems from TenCate can provide the solution − and these systems have indeed proved to be the ideal solution for erosion protection on the Addu and Ari atolls.

The Maldives is one of the world’s leading luxury travel destinations, with its beaches and resorts proving a major tourist attraction. It is, however, also the lowest country in the world. More than 80% of the coral islands rise to less than one metre above sea level, with average natural ground level no more than 1.5 metres. The rise in sea level therefore poses a very real threat, and the frequency and intensity of storm surge events are also increasing due to global warming. No longer can nature alone repair the resulting damage suffered by the islands. Protecting the beach with rocks is more or less impossible since the remoteness of the location in the Indian Ocean and the lack of adequate natural resources would lead to exorbitant transportation costs. The solution: TenCate Geotube® and TenCate Geobag®.

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Gan International Airport 

Gan International Airport (GIA) is situated on the island of Gan in the Addu or Seenu Atoll – home to the country’s largest coral reef. GIA has recently been upgraded to international standards to accommodate the increasing international tourist air traffic. Today it serves as a key tourism gateway to the tourist resorts in the archipelago, including Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, which is located on the neighbouring Villingili Island within the same atoll, and the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort in the Ari Atoll. 

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TenCate Geotube® units have been applied to protect and reinforce the beaches at the western end of the take-off and landing runways. Site-available coral sand is used for construction purposes. Coarse coral sand churned up during storm events is highly abrasive but, after the coarse fractions have been sieved out, the fine sand is used to fill the Geotube® units hydraulically. 

As the site is right on the Equator the UV intensity is extremely high for a large part of the year. However, not only are the sand-coloured TenCate Geotube® units especially hardwearing and storm-resistant, they are also UV-stabilized. 

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Once filled and hidden from view, they form a robust and durable defence, while the coarse sand in front of this row of geotextiles ensures extra protection.

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The luxury Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort spreads across two private islands in the Southern Ari Atoll, in a picturesque part of the archipelago.
TenCate Geobag® GB450MC has been used for erosion protection on several beaches damaged during extreme storm surge events. 

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TenCate Geobag® composite units are easily filled with sand and sealed on site, and have been specially developed to withstand UV radiation and the forces of nature for years.

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TenCate Geobag® is part of TenCate Geosystems®, a product series in the portfolio of the Water & Environment business unit of TenCate Geosynthetics. These are durable geotextile systems that are filled with sand instead of traditional building materials and used for erosion protection, flood defences and other hydraulic engineering constructions. TenCate Geobag® systems comprise a wide range of convenient pillow- or box-shaped units. They are modest in size because, once filled, they have to be processed by conventional building machines. 

TenCate Geotube® units are characteristically tubular-shaped and are filled hydraulically.

Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)