Terra et Aqua: “How Does Dredging Make the World a Better Place?”

That was the question that the global dredging industry attempted to answer as they gathered at the WODCON XIX in Beijing, China with the theme “Dredging makes the world a better place”. This issue of Terra et Aqua continues the discussion with articles focusing on the drivers of dredging in a diversity of continents and countries – each with its own, yet related, needs, each dependent on the force, the power and the whimsy of water.

Starting in Europe with the new Maasvlakte 2 expansion project at the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, two well-known engineers focus on the innovative Design Construct and Maintenance (DCM) contract which was applied successfully to this mega-infrastructure construction feat. Adopting a so-called Systems Engineering approach provided a method for identifying the roles and tasks of all involved parties and gave clear insight into the decision-making processes throughout the project, from the start, the tender procedure, to project completion. It underscores the advantages of early contractor involvement so that construction expertise of the dredging contractor can be incorporated into the design process, construction and management, minimising disputes, which ultimately results in significant cost-savings.

Moving to Asia, the next article was written by the IADC Young Author Award winner at WODCON XIX. It highlights the way in which dredgers in Japan are confronting the issue of dwindling food supplies. With its national food self-sufficiency rate down to approximately 40 percent, Japan is depending on imports for almost all kinds of food products. As fish is a staple of the Japanese diet, the lack of fish along the coast has had nutritional as well as economic consequences. The research describes the construction of an artificial reef off the coast of Nagasaki which could conceivably “turn the tide”. The artificial reef creates an upwelling which generates underwater activity, bringing nutrient-rich deepwater, filled with microscopic phytoplankton and zooplankton, to the surface. This marine life in turn attracts larger fish and boosts the productivity of the coastal fisheries.

And finally Terra turns to Africa, where corporate social responsibility is especially pertinent. The Lower Niger River, with its meandering nature and wide variation of some 9 metres in water depth from the dry to the wet seasons, is extremely difficult to navigate. The Nigerian National Inland Waterways Authority, seeking to make the river manageable, turned to dredging and river training works. In close consultation with the local people and attention to their overall needs – clean water, schools, housing – the dredging contractor has improved the navigability of the river which will lead to better use of the river for water-borne transportation of goods, and, in the long-term, to raising the economic and social standards for the population living along the river.

And that in a nutshell tells how dredging makes the world a better place, on three separate continents in three very different countries, each with its own basic water-related infrastructure needs and each turning to dredging to find the solution.

[mappress]

Source: terra-et-aqua, December 8, 2010

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