How do you prevent the intrusion of salt water into economically important fresh water deltas? That was the challenge that ultimately created the Balance Island concept – a natural solution to a global problem.
The initial Balance Island was developed for a specific delta area in the Netherlands by a Sweco team and later involved a multi-disciplinary consortium with Imares and Waterachitect.
The idea behind the concept is to further extend existing shallows through sand suppletion. This creates a natural barrier (Balance Island) that will channel salt water along pre-determined channels. In turn, this will create a unique tidal area that will restrict salt-water penetration.
Building with Nature
The key advantage about Balance Island is that it makes use of the delta’s own dynamics and strengthens the natural values, while at the same time offering solutions that make the delta area more inhabitable for people. All in all, the project is an excellent example of Building with Nature.
The concept is also attractive from an economic perspective as cost of construction is less than the expected income that would be generated by the resulting opportunities for agriculture, fishery, natural and recreation. Balance Island can further support conservation efforts for (aquatic) fauna, flora and eco-systems in other delta areas around the world with plans already being prepared for Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh City deltas.
The concept is the winner of both the prestigious Delta Award and Delta Alliance Young Professionals Award, presented to the team at the UN Rio+20 climate top in Rio de Janeiro.