Manama: Sat, 8 Nov 2008 – An initiative to safeguard Bahrain’s environment from harmful and unnecessary reclamation has been launched in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
New guidelines by the works ministry will ensure that all projects involving reclamation and dredging fulfil specific requirements and criteria.
They not only cover private developers, but also projects carried out by ministries and government organisations, said Works Minister Fahmi Al Jowder.
“Everyone will have to follow the new guidelines whether it is private consultation companies or construction firms, or those working in my ministry and the municipalities and agriculture affairs ministry,” he said.
The minister was speaking at the launch of new guidelines featured in a dredging and land reclamation technical manual, at the Sheraton Hotel.
The overall aim of introducing the guidelines is to secure environmental and economic benefits by detailing specific processes, procedures and guidelines for dredging, land reclamation and other associated activities in the country, said ministry Under-Secretary Nayef Al Kalali.
“Bahrain is in the dawn of a new era in urban development. In only 26 years, the country’s surface area has grown by more than 11 per cent.
“The ministry has a key role in contributing to ongoing progress while at the same time caring for and striving to protect the environment.
“The guidelines and manual are part of a comprehensive undertaking, where existing reclamation levels within the country have been investigated and redefined.
“They will contribute towards achieving environmental benefits as well as cost savings for contractors by eradicating unnecessary over reclamation.”
The guideline, entitled Reclamation Levels: Guidelines for Coastal Development Lands and Artificial Islands is based on a study conducted by Dutch consultant Delft Hydraulics.
“It also focuses on the impact of tides, storm surges, barometric pressure, wind and wave set up and run up, meteorological oscillation and climate change,” Mr Al Kalali said.
“The outcome of the study has also provided clearance levels for the expected rise in seawater due to global warming, which is set at 0.4 metres in 100 years and an additional safety clearance of 0.1 metre has also been included.”
He said that the manual was a comprehensive reference, providing background information on key aspects of dredging and land reclamation projects from conception to completion.
Others involved in coming up with the guidelines were Delft Hydraulics, Anthony Bates Partnership Dredging and Coastal Consultants and Dredging Research Limited.
The team reviewed an earlier land reclamation guideline prepared by French consultants Sogreah Consultants in 2001.
The review and update followed numerous investigations, statistical analyses, mathematical modelling and indicative wave crest level calculations, which were conducted at five reclamation sites around the country, said Al Kalali.
“The amount of reclamation work and design parameters were then updated and imported into a Geographical Information System (GIS) and a resulting recommended reclamation level map of the country was produced,” he said.
“The process of dredging and land reclamation encompasses many different disciplines and personnel who are charged with handling such developments need to have access to relevant and up-to-date literature.
He said that in 1981 the surface area of Bahrain was 665.3sq km. “By the end of last year, it was recorded at 741.40sq km. This is an increase of 76.1sq km in 26 years.”
“This 11.4 per cent expansion is due to sea reclamation, mainly for housing and industrial developments.”
Al Kalali said that the number of islands that make up Bahrain’s archipelago as of the end of last year were 196 islands – 133 natural and 63 artificial.
“Bahrain still experiences a shortage of land for future housing, industrial and infrastructure development,” he said.
“Setting up guidelines for dredging and reclamation works is part of an integrated approach to prevent degradation of marine resources.”