Marine buffer zones and hydrodynamic assessments for regional planning

Wood, M. and Arora, M. (2016) Marine buffer zones and hydrodynamic assessments for regional planning. In: Arabian Coast 2016, 20-23 November 2016, Dubai, UAE.

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Introduction. Important strategic facilities such as refineries, power stations and desalination plants are widespread along the coastline of the Arabian Gulf. These require a plentiful supply of clean seawater, which is usually abstracted through marine intakes. In many countries that border with the Gulf, desalination is the only native source of potable water for the population. As such, desalination plants are strategically important facilities that require protection against the effects of future development. The rapid pace of coastal development (dredging and reclamation activity, construction of new outfalls, etc) in GCC countries means that many sensitive marine intakes can be at risk of poor water quality. Regional planning. Regional and national coastal development plans can be formed between government departments, industry owners, environmental regulators and consultants. The intentions are to optimise land use for both economic and social development, while ensuring minimal environmental impact. An example is Bahrain’s National Planning Development Strategy (2007). In recent studies, the authors have assessed the potential effects of national coastal development plans on sensitive coastal facilities to support strategic planning and to protect sensitive sites. Hydrodynamic modelling assessments. In the authors’ experience, national plans rarely include precise landforms and detailed reclamation plans for a region. More often, indicative areas are marked to separate regions of ownership and identify future industrial zones, residential blocks, etc. Therefore hydrodynamic model assessments are required to investigate potential developments that might occur within a region, including any major blockages to the local and regional currents. This is done through close liaison with stakeholders, analysing existing bed and landforms to see where developments are likely, establishing baseline marine ecology and hydrographic data, and then building potential future layouts into computational models. The effects of the development on water quality, sediment transport and pollutant transport close to sensitive sites can then be determined. Both near- and far-field effects are important to consider, as developments near a sensitive site may also impact on facilities further away. Therefore, modelling must be carried out holistically, ideally using regional-scale models. Multi-scale modelling techniques used by the authors mean that large regional-scale models can be created with areas of high resolution around multiple sites of interest. Mitigation and buffer zone recommendations. After the potential effects of future developments have been identified using hydrodynamic models, mitigation measures are recommended where needed. These may include widening corridors or approach channels to increase flushing of an area, or reshaping proposed reclamations to reduce their effects on flow patterns. Where a particular stretch of water is essential to the local hydrodynamics and water quality (for example, providing a supply of clean seawater to an important intake), buffer zones can be established to protect these against future developments. Example. The authors present the techniques developed for an example study in the Arabian Gulf.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Coasts > General
Divisions: Coastal
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2020 09:53
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2020 09:53

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