Tackling coastal erosion in Romania

Coastal erosion is a growing concern around Europe. The removal of soil and sand by wind, water and human action has left several European coastal areas defenceless against flooding and high tides or extremely high tides, threatening human and marine life.


While it’s a natural process, coastal erosion can be quickened by the construction of hard infrastructure like ports and defensive embankments.

On the Romanian coast, the entire southern sector of beaches and coastline have been acutely eroded by the construction of ports as well as dams along the Danube to the Black Sea. This has led to the deterioration of “sediment transport,” which is the natural movement of sand and gravel by the water.

“The coastal erosion in the Constanta County didn’t happen overnight,” said Aimilia Pistrika, a Senior Water Engineer working at the European Investment Bank, which is lending €97 million for co-financing a project together with the European Commission to protect the Romanian Black Sea coast from erosion and floods. “By restoring the beaches, we’re improving the coast’s natural ability to defend against extreme tides and storms.”

The loss of beaches has a great impact on local properties and infrastructure. It also hits tourism and threatens the marine life. As the erosion progresses, the natural habitats change, affecting both land and sea life like plants, algae, small fish, and shellfish. The variation in sand deposits may either bury or displace species.

To tackle this issue, the Dobrogea Litoral Water Basin Administration is implementing the second phase of a project—phase one was completed in 2017—that will reduce coastal erosion and protect against flooding by adding new sand to beaches.

Contractors vacuum up sand from the sea bottom and transports it through a two-kilometre pipeline. They deposit around 18 000 tonnes of wet sand on the beach every four hours. Bulldozers and other machinery then spread the sand out on the beach, until the level inside and outside the water is proportional.

Read the full story about how Romania tackles coastal erosion and protects its tourist industry.