Offshore – Breakwater Structure to Protect Negril Coastline

Photo: JIS Photographer Environmental Engineer, National Works Agency (NWA), Dr. Mark Richards, outlining to JIS News the breakwater structures to be constructed to protect the Negril coastline.

Story Highlights

  • The UN-funded programme is being done in three components, the first of which addresses increasing the climate resilience of the Negril coastline.
  • The project is being executed by the National Works Agency (NWA), under the supervision of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
  • Tendering for the pre-qualification of contractors and quarry operators to supply boulders has been issued

An offshore breakwater system is to be constructed along the Negril coastline, under the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) Adaptation Fund Programme.

Grant funding in the sum of US$9.9 million has been allocated to the programme, through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and some US$5.4 million of that amount will be used to build the offshore breakwater system.

This project is being administered by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the national implementing entity.

The programme, which is funded by the Adaptation Fund, is being done in three components, the first of which addresses increasing the climate resilience of the Negril coastline. This will help to protect a vulnerable section of the coastline as well as the livelihood of the residents who depend largely on fishing and tourism.

The project is being executed by the National Works Agency (NWA), under the supervision of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).

Environmental Engineer at the NWA, Dr. Mark Richards, credits members of the Negril community for taking the initiative to protect their coastline.

“The project addresses the issue of erosion of beaches and loss of coastline in Negril. The problem was noticed from as far back as 1996 and the community (members) put together funds to do a study on the reasons for the loss of the beaches, and the findings were that increased storm surges and loss of coral reefs were affecting the beaches. This project is based on the findings of that first study,” he explained.

Dr. Richards explained that breakwater structures are needed to reduce the energy of the waves coming to the shore and that the most economical construction methodology option would be to use boulders which would be placed underwater, a mile offshore to the west of Negril. These structures, he said, should enhance the ability of the shore to begin to accrete.

Dr. Richards said that prior to construction, scaled models of the structures would be done in a lab and storm surges would be generated to determine their effectiveness. This simulation activity, he added, would take place at the University of Delaware, in the United States, later this month.

Tendering for the pre-qualification of contractors and quarry operators to supply boulders has been issued and groundwork has begun regarding the logistics of moving the material.

“Such a major project of sea defence has really never been done. A few hotels have put up breakwater (structures) to protect their beaches, but they are close to the shoreline. We are trying to protect about five miles of the area,” Dr. Richards said.

He told JIS News that action should begin on the ground in Negril by March next year after the due diligence has been completed, and that construction should take  one year.

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