Reclaiming new land to adapt to sea-level rise in small islands is widespread, but a key question is: How high should new land be reclaimed at and where? The article “Decision-support for land reclamation location and design choices in the Maldives” presents two methods to improve land reclamation decisions in the Maldives.
Often land reclamation practices lack a systematic approach to assess current flood risk and don’t anticipate future sea-level rise impacts. Islands are not reclaimed with enough elevation and/or protection. The consequences can be detrimental.
To address this, we applied a hazard threshold analysis, and a cost-benefit analysis to determine better land reclamation heights in two islands in the Maldives (Ha. Hoarafushi and Gdh. Madaveli).
Our results demonstrate that generically fixed heights do not produce efficient land reclamation heights. E.g., risk-based heights range from 1.83-1.89m for Ha.Hoarafushi and from 2.74-2.77m for Gdh.Madaveli.
This is important for coastal managers in Small Island Developing States who can improve adaptation decisions, using these two decision-support methods in a complimentary manner.