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Decision-support for land reclamation location and design choices in the Maldives

  • van der Pol, Thomas
  • Gussmann, Geronimo
  • Hinkel, Jochen
  • Amores, Angel
  • Marcos, Marta
  • Rohmer, Jérémy
  • Lambert, Erwin
  • Bisaro, Alexander
Publication Date
Apr 25, 2023
DOI: 10.1016/j.crm.2023.100514
OAI: oai:HAL:hal-04118858v1
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Land reclamation in the Maldives is widespread. Current land reclamation practices, however, lack a systematic approach to anticipate sea-level rise and do not account for local flood risk differences to inform location and design choices. To address these limitations, this paper applies two decision-support tools: a hazard threshold analysis, and a cost-benefit analysis. Both tools produce site-specific estimates of land elevations or flood defence heights but do so for different goals. The hazard threshold analysis identifies hazard-based solutions that meet an acceptable flood probability for an intended lifespan without follow-up actions by reliability optimisation. The cost-benefit analysis identifies risk-based solutions using dynamic programming. We apply both tools to two land reclamation sites, a newly reclaimed airport island and a land extension of an inhabited island, in the Maldives. We find that total hazard-based heights for long-term planning horizons are highly uncertain, with local height differences of up to 1.9 m across sealevel rise scenarios by 2100. Risk-based Island elevations, in contrast, differ much less across scenarios, offering a practical advantage for decision-making. However, land reclamation choices on location, land elevation and investment in flood protection are not only driven by hazardrelated aspects, such as reef characteristics, swell exposure, and sea-level rise, but also by estimates of exposed assets, reclamation, and flood protection costs. Taken together, the two decision-support tools are helpful for improving adaptation decisions and are also applicable in other small island regions.

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