Beach Nourishment

Beach Nourishment
ENTRY DATE: 27 April 2015| LAST UPDATE: 27 April 2015
Categories: Coastal Regions | Reinforcing facilities and structures
Technological Maturity: Applicable immediately
Technology Owners:
  • Government
  • Private companies
Needs Addressed

Measures against erosion, storm surges, flooding, inundation

Adaptation Effects
  • Similar to wetlands and reefs, beaches provide strong protection against storm surges from typhoons and other coastal storms by absorbing the energy in tidal surges (UNISDR and UNDP 2012)
  • It also serves as a buffer against coastal erosion, protects coastal property and infrastructure
Overview and Features

This technique is used to reclaim a beach from erosion thus reducing coastal vulnerability. Sand is added to the area that was lost to erosion "reclaiming" the shoreline that once was. This technique is applicable to any beach or shoreline that is subject to severe erosion.

  • Equipment employed
  • Cost for dredging
  • Nourishment costs estimated at between USD 3 and USD 15 per cubic meter when sourcing sediment from a local dredge site - main determinant of the cost is the distance the material must be transported (ADB, 2014))
  • Maintenance costs - significantly lower overall costs than those for hard measures (ADB, 2014)
  • In general, beach nourishment has a lower cost-benefit ratio than coastal zoning, mangrove revival, reef revival, and vegetation management, though initial and ongoing costs are reliant on the local context of application (ADB, 2014) 
Energy Source
  • Fuel etc. for construction equipment
  • Human resources 
Ease of Maintenance
  • Does not halt erosion and will require periodic re-nourishment to maintain its protective effect
  • As demand for beach nourishment increases, refill supplies may become harder to obtain
Technology Performance

Works in the short term and acts as a buffer against storms and erosion but requires regular maintenance. 

Considerations (technology transfer criteria, challenges, etc.)
  • Combination of this technique with harder technologies, such as storm surge barriers, can enhance its protective effectiveness
  • Planning must account for the specific ecological contexts within which such activity is occurring
  • Localised knowledge and public awareness must be incorporated into the planning processes
  • Must address the root cause of coastal erosion, which can be both natural and anthropogenic, if it is to achieve long-term success
  • As sea levels rise and the area available for nourishment diminishes, beach nourishment will become increasingly less effective at providing adequate storm protection
Co-benefits, Suitability for Developing Countries
  • Maintenance of beach for tourism
  • Protection of wildlife habitat
  • Helps in groundwater recharge
  • Protection of highly productive areas for coastal fisheries
  • Nutrient retention and cycling
  • In some cases, beach nourishment may compete with wetland construction for land
  • Requires large equipment that might not be available in developing countries
Information Resources

ADB, 2014. Technologies to Support Climate Change Adaptation. Asian Development Bank. Available at: [25 November 2014]

Anonymous, n.d. Beach Reclamation. Available at: [23 March 2015]

Kuang, C., Pan, Y., Zhang, Y. Liu, S., Yang, Y., Zhang, J. and Dong, P. 2011. Performance Evaluation of a Beach Nourishment Project at West Beach in Beidaihe, China. Journal of Coastal Research: Volume 27, Issue 4: 769-783

UNFCCC, 2014. Background Paper for Technologies for Adaptation. Available at: [25 November 2014]

United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2012. A Toolkit for Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation into Ecosystem Management of Coastal and Marine Areas in South Asia. Outcome of the South Asian Consultative Workshop on Integration of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation into Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management of Coastal and Marine Areas in South Asia, New Delhi. 6–7 March.

Zhu, X., M. Linham, and R. Nicholls. 2010. Technologies for Climate Change Adaptation: Coastal Erosion and Flooding. Denmark: UNEP Risø Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development.