WIT Press


URBAN GROWTH AND BEACH NOURISHMENT: EXPERIENCES ON THE COAST OF ALICANTE, SPAIN

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/UG180091

Volume

179

Pages

10

Page Range

93 - 102

Published

2018

Size

789 kb

Author(s)

JOSÉ IGNACIO PAGÁN, ISABEL LÓPEZ, ANTONIO JOSÉ TENZA-ABRIL, LUIS ARAGONÉS, YOLANDA VILLACAMPA

Abstract

Since the 1960s, the promotion and development of tourism in coastal towns has turned them into a remarkable source of wealth, linked to a significant population growth in recent decades. This growth has led to a major urban development generating densely populated areas that have had an extraordinary impact on the coasts. The urban growth occupying the dunes, the mass tourism, the continuous construction of marinas and commercial ports, promenades and groynes have led to an increase in the erosion that has affected the shoreline. In this work, the historical evolution of 6 beaches on the coast of Alicante (Spain) has been analysed from aerial images in a period between 1956 and 2017. Both changes in land use associated with the process of urban development and the evolution of the shoreline have also been studied. These beaches are located in population centres whose urban growth has influenced the anthropic actions on the beaches, most of them with relevant problems of erosion. The urban area increased from 30% to more than 70% during this period. To avoid coastal damages and to improve the touristic offer, these beaches were nourished in the 1990s, changing the type of sediment that formed them from gravel to sand. In most cases, the filled material has been lost nowadays, returning to the initial stage and even causing environmental damage to the nearby Posidonia oceanica meadows. In order to plan future actions, it is important to be aware of the effects of the past ones carried out. Alternatives should be developed in a sustainable manner with criteria of circular economy, with adequate volumes of fills to maintain their tourist attraction and defence function of the coast.

Keywords

Alicante, beach nourishment, urban growth, GIS, shoreline evolution