Building with Nature Program Recognized for Innovative Engineering Solutions

The program in Northern Java to stop coastal erosion through Building with Nature has won the annual award for innovative engineering solutions (Vernufteling) in the Netherlands.

On behalf of the project, Rob Nieuwkamer from Witteveen+Bos, received the award on Wednesday 16 March 2016 in the presence of many prominent people from the engineering world.

The award gives a great boost to the Building with Nature Indonesia consortium, which is currently carrying out this pilot project in the Demak district in Northern Java.

The Building with Nature initiative in Indonesia enhances coastal resilience for residents by avoiding further coastal flooding and erosion. The solution is low-tech, but high concept: in the most heavily eroded parts of the Demak coastline, this program is building permeable dams to attenuate the waves and trap the sediment.

This brings the massive coastal erosion to a halt and stimulates the natural re-growth of the mangrove greenbelt. The mangrove forest should take over the role of the dams and attenuate the waves and keep the sediment in place. In addition, the soft solution of coastal protection by mangroves brings back the ecological value of the area.

Rob Nieuwkamer said: “While the project is low-tech, the jury has recognized that thorough knowledge is required about local and ecological circumstances. The private public partnership of this program is vital for realizing a lasting solution. It involves much more than just those dams.

Building with Nature Indonesia program is a cooperation between the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) and Ministry of Public Work and Human Settlement (PUPR) on behalf of the Government of Indonesia and the Ecoshape Consortium.

Wetlands International coordinates the initiative in partnership with consultancy agency Witteveen+Bos, knowledge institutes Deltares, Blue Forest,  Wageningen University & Research Centre, IMARES and UNESCO-IHE, and the Diponegoro University, and Local Government of Central Java Province and Demak District.