Bahrain will soon finalise new reclamation guidelines to cope with the construction boom, it was revealed.
Billions of dinars are being invested in infrastructure projects and more than 50 sq km have been reclaimed from the sea over the past 50 years, said Works and Housing Ministry Public Works Affairs under-secretary Nayef Al Kalali.
‘This trend is set to continue as many multi-billion dollar projects are still in the planning stages with construction yet to begin,’ he said.
‘Bahrain is in the midst of a construction boom with billions of dinars being invested into infrastructure projects.
‘But with the constraints on land for housing, industrial and infrastructure development, land reclamation has become a priority to meet the current demand.’
He said the government realised the need to update reclamation guidelines and requirements to cope with a growth in offshore activity, as well as complement its master plan for an integrated approach to reclamation.
‘A previous study, commissioned in 2001, resulted in an initial manual of reclamation guidelines for offshore projects produced by Sogreah Consultants,’ he revealed.
‘The manual contains detailed guidelines for dredging and reclamation works aimed at preventing degradation and irreparable damage of the kingdom’s marine resources.
‘We have adhered to these guidelines in all reclamation works since the study was completed.’
However, he said in December 2005 the then Works and Housing Ministry felt the guidelines needed to be updated to take into account the changing shape of the country and the effects of global warming.
‘We therefore commissioned WL Delft Hydraulics to review and update the manual accordingly,’ said Al Kalali.
The first phase of the new study comprised the review of the Sogreah Consultants report with respect to past, ongoing and planned reclamation work, as well as the derived design parameters.
This review was then used to update the list of reclamation work and design parameters according to new investigations, statistical data analysis and mathematical modelling, which was then passed into a Geological Information System (GIS).
A recommended reclamation level map of Bahrain was also prepared according to the new findings.
A final report on the first phase of the study was presented and distributed to all the governmental authorities concerned.
‘The results of the first phase were presented to the Works Ministry in a general meeting with the consultants and stakeholders,’ said Al Kalali.
‘It focused on agreeing the exact nature of manual according to the recent studies which have been conducted.
‘The second phase of the project will start immediately afterwards and will see the production of a new technical manual, which will detail processes, procedures and guidelines for dredging, land reclamation and associated activities in Bahrain.’
A meeting with the consultants and the related governmental stakeholders will be held on Wednesday, at which the new technical manual will be discussed, he added.