Durban Adaptation Charter initiates Coastal Engineering Workshop, 13-14th November 2014, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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Coastal enginnering workshopFollowing the DAC East African Regional Workshop, a two day Coastal Engineering Workshop was held for Tanzanian Municipal Engineers with a specific focus on coastal processes, coastal engineering and sea level rise.  During previous exchange visits between Durban and Dar es Salaam, coastal engineering and sea level rise modelling have been identified as a key area of expertise in eThekwini Municipality.  It was subsequently agreed that eThekwini Municipality and engineers from Tanzanian coastal municipalities would collaborate through a coastal engineering workshop in Dar es Salaam for capacity building.  Financed by USAID, through the International City/County Management Association’s (ICMA) CityLinks programme, the purpose of the workshop was to provide an introduction to key principles in coastal processes and related engineering, and to workshop a practical case study in coastal protection using an example from Kunduchi Beach Resort in Kinondoni Municipality. The workshop was led by Dr Andrew Mather from eThekwini Municipality and was attended by key engineering staff from nine coastal Local Government Authorities (LGA’s) in Tanzania.  This workshop was the first step in implementing an agreement to exchange knowledge and collaborate on climate change adaptation issues within the DAC.

The first day of the workshop was dedicated to providing an overview of the processes that shape coastal development, beach materials, and the causes of coastal erosion. The second day focussed on practical examples and began with several local governments describing some of their key coastal management challenges.  Three of these challenges were then reviewed in more detail by participants in order to apply some of the knowledge gained during the previous day:

Mafia Island:

The Mafia Island representative reported that one of their main challenges is the erosion of the sandy beaches on the west side of the island. The participants examined aerial photographs of the area and Dr Mather highlighted that the island was experiencing natural movement of sand from north to south.  As a result the beaches on the west side of the island were naturally eroding.  Since the area of erosion is extensive, Dr Mather indicated that it would be very expensive to put in place measures to protect the entire area so he recommended picking priority areas.

Kinondoni Municipality:

Kinondoni Municipality representatives indicated that coastal erosion that is threatening roads and other developments in the municipality was their key coastal concern.  The participants examined aerial photographs of the area and Dr Mather highlighted that problems were being experienced in areas to the north of rivers. He explained that areas to the north of the rivers are naturally in flux. Normally this would not be a problem in the natural world, but since there is development in these areas it creates a challenge.  He also noted that because sediment was being dredged from the harbour in the south, it was starving the areas to the north of sand and contributing to the erosion. Some of the solutions discussed included the establishment of protective structures to rebuild the beach behind the structures and also the re-nourishment of the beaches with sand that is dredged from the harbour.


The main challenge being experienced in Bagamoyo is a retreating shoreline. The retreating shoreline threatens a beach front road and important tourism infrastructure. The group examined aerial photographs and a number of possible explanations were discussed, however it was not possible to come to a final conclusion on the causes. One of the contributing factors noted by Dr Mather was the drainage from the road itself.  A possible solution that was discussed was the use of a plastic mesh that could be stretched over an area that requires protection. The plastic mesh could be in-filled with soil and vegetation.

Kunduchi Beach Site Visit:

To conclude the training, Dr Mather presented an overview of the Kunduchi Beach area. He highlighted the various developments in the area and the impacts these were having on the coast.   After the formal presentation, participants visited Kunduchi Beach itself to discuss the issues on site.

Feedback received from the twelve participants regarding the workshop was extremely favourable. ICMA and the DAC are looking into ways to replicate the training event and to support additional exchange events where Dr Mather can provide expert advice on site to coastal municipalities in Tanzania.

The workshop was conducted as part of the Durban-Dar es Salaam Climate Change Partnership in conjunction with the DAC and the Association of Local Authorities of Tanzania.

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