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EUROSION: Case Study: Sitges (Spain)

Type of Entry: Case Study

The town of Sitges is located on the Mediterranean coast, 40km south of Barcelona. It has a coastal area of 18.840km long, which is made of cliffs and sandy beaches. There are 18 pocket beaches in the municipality’s coastal area, 10 of which are in front of the urban area. Beach and bottom sediments are sands of siliciclasthic origin, of light gold colour and fine to medium grain size. The driving forces that cause erosion in the coast are mainly the lack of sediment transport by the southwestwards longshore drift, and the east storms, combined with the effect of numerous groins and breakwaters, and marina docks, which retain sediments in their leeside.

The major impact of the erosion is the loss of beach surface. Sitges economy depend enormously on tourism (basically the summer tourism), so the loss of beach is the main worry for all the stakeholders involved. Quarries and recreational ports are other economic sectors of the municipality. To face erosion, the policy adopted by the government is hold the line. The measures adopted are both hard measures, such as groynes, detached breakwaters, T-shaped breakwaters, artificial islands and seawalls, and soft measures (beach renourishment). The numerous groynes retain the sediments that circulate in a NE-SW longshore drift, avoiding the feeding of the southwest beaches, which are the most affected by erosion, and worsening the problem of erosion. The marina docks northly, deviate to the offshore a huge part of the sediment load carried by longshore drift.

Keywords: Beach protection, Tools and techniques for beach management
EUROSION Case Study: Sitges (Spain) (273.922 Bytes)
Contact: Jordi Serra Raventós
Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona - Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientlas - ICTA
Telephone: +34 93 581 3868 / +34 93 581 3331