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 Building with Nature Guideline > Projects > Sand nourishment - Sand Engine Delfland, North Sea, NL

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Sand nourishment - Sand Engine Delfland, North Sea, NL


Location: Coast of Delfland (Netherlands)
Date: March 2011 – November 2011, monitoring from 2011-2016 and from 2016-2021

Involved parties: Rijkswaterstaat, Province of South Holland, Ecoshape, DHV, Deltares, Van Oord, Boskalis
Technology Readiness Level: 9 (Technology available)

Environment: Sandy shores
Keywords: mega-nourishment, innovative, safety, space for nature

Building with Nature designTraditional design

A surplus of sand (in case of the pilot project Sand Motor, order 20 million m3; 10,000 m3 per linear m of coastline) is put into the natural system and is expected to be re-distributed along shore and into the dunes through the continuous natural action of waves, tides and wind. In this way mega-nourishment gradually induce dune formation along a larger stretch of coastline over a period of one or more decades, thus contributing to coastal safety against flooding over a longer period of time and giving less disturbance to the coastal ecosystem while creating opportunities for nature and recreation.

A traditional design of a sand nourishment in the Netherlands, has the primary objective of shoreline maintenance using a medium volume of sand (2-5 million m3; typically 200- 400 m3/m). The lifespan of the nourishment is in the order of 5 years. This means that every 5 years the nourishment has to be repeated, resulting in a frequent disturbance of the ecosystem.  




To assess the feasibility of mega-nourishment as an innovative measure to create long term safety conditions in combination with extra space for nature and recreation, a pilot project "Sand Motor Delfland" has been initiated.

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Inception phase

The first ideas for the Sand Motor date back to the beginning of this century. Initiators were the Province of South Holland and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment (Rijkswaterstaat).

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Planning and design phase

The planning and design phase consisted of a pre-feasibility study after which the planing phase stated, taking into account the process of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which emphasized on safety, recreation and knowledge development for the different scenarios.

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Construction phase

In 2010 an international tender took place, which was won by the consortium of Boskalis and Van Oord. Construction started in March 2011.

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Operation and Maintenance phase

In November 2011 the construction of the Sand Motor was completed. A total amount of 21,5 million m3 of sand had been placed in front of the Delfland coast, with the objectives to provide long-term safety, to create extra space for recreation and natural development and to learn as much as possible from it. Are mega-nourishments a good alternative for smaller-scale periodic nourishments? The first results of the experiment will be assessed 5 years after construction. To this end an extensive monitoring program is in place.

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Lessons Learned

The main lesson learned of the monitoring period 2011-2016 can be found through this link , other lessons learned can be read below.

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