Malaysia: Protecting Terengganu's coastline against erosion

ROSLI ZAKARIA New Straits Times 1 Feb 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: Climate change, which has affected the weather patterns poses a new challenge for the Irrigation and Drainage Department in redesigning beach protection measures to prevent damage in areas with economic value along the Terengganu coastline.

The recent high tide and rough sea conditions that battered the breakwaters and beach revetments have provided clues on the seriousness of beach erosion and the threat it posed to fishing villages, as well as measures to protect the beach.

Although the structures, completed last year following the big floods, were able to withstand the rough weather, they, however, failed to protect the entire stretch.

“Beaches protected by breakwaters and revetments were not affected, but a section of the beach just a few metres from the structures suffered serious erosion.

“We can see this in Paka (Dungun), Tok Jembal (Kuala Nerus) and Gong Batu (Setiu),” state Irrigation and Drainage Department director C. Poobalan told the New Straits Times recently.

“Tanjung Gelam in Kuala Nerus had a couple of houses destroyed by rough seas.

This stretch is not protected by a breakwater.

“In Gong Batu, the beach was protected by a strip of sandbars. But, in the recent rough sea condition, sea water breached it and flowed into Sungai Setiu.

“This encroachment will affect the salinity of water in Sungai Setiu and may affect aquaculture activity in Gong Batu,” he said, adding that the department had initiated efforts to protect the bund with geobags and geotubes.

Poobalan said culverts that acted as a retaining wall would be placed along the affected stretch.

In Tok Jembal, he said, the state government had provided funds to reinforce the beach revetments as a temporary measure to stop further erosion along the unprotected stretch.

“We will build a breakwater along this stretch.

The length of the breakwater will depend on the model proposed by the National Coastal Erosion Study that will be discussed next week.

The last study was in 1985.

“The criteria for beach protection have changed due to changes in the weather patterns influenced by the global climate change.

“The study will help the department to plan mitigation measures and prioritise it according to zones,” he added.

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