'Experimental' Balluta Bay temporarily closed after sand is carried away

Anticipated changes at bay observed - authorities

Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Balluta Bay has been temporarily closed, just weeks after it was embellished and reopened.

Most of the recently-replenished sand was carried into the sea after a downpour on Friday morning. 

The Malta Tourism Authority and Tourism Ministry said in a statement that they have been observing the "expected changes" happening at the newly nourished bay.

They noted that the various coastal constructions present in the bay’s vicinities have, over the years, altered wave dynamics.

The beach nourishment project, they said, was experimental and purposely designed to gain understanding on the way such temporarily nourished beaches would react during summer and under specific storm conditions.

The main aim of the project was to test the feasibility of dredging sand from the same bay, rather than importing alien sand material from abroad. A second aim was to test the stability of the nourished beach over summer and over time once the stormy season starts.

The beach, they said, was monitored on a quasi-daily basis and the monitoring would continue over the following weeks and months, so as to acquire the necessary knowledge to assess the project in its totality.

Read: €110,000 Balluta beach project might not survive the winter

In the coming days, the expected storm damage would be monitored and experts would assess whether the sand had been deposited at the bottom of the beach slope or lost further out into the bay. They would also look into the eventuality of some of the lost sand being naturally deposited once again onto the beach by waves.

The authorities noted that considering that the swimming season was not yet over, the sand would likely be relocated over the next days so as to fill in the channels formed by the running water.

Despite the displacement of sand there was still ample sand on the beach, verifying the effectiveness of the project, which provided an enlarged sandy beach in this highly touristic locality, they said.

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