Affordable Coastal Protection in the Pacific


Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility

Project overview

This Pacific-wide study was undertaken by Tonkin + Taylor International for the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility (PRIF) Erosion and recession of shorelines is of significant concern to Pacific island countries. Coastal erosion is caused by a number of factors that include storms and high water levels, reduced sediment production on coral reefs, removal of coastal sands by mining of beaches and the trapping of sediment by rivers and structures. 

Projected climate change effects, such as the rise in sea levels and changes in storm frequency and intensity, may also increase the risk of erosion. 

This study catalogued existing approaches to coastal protection used within the Pacific and critically evaluated them against engineering, environmental, social and financial criteria. Options for alternative protection measures including structures requiring lower material volumes or those that use local materials and labour were identified and physical model testing was undertaken at the Water Research Laboratory, Sydney to investigate performance and derive design guidance. A design guidance report was written for coastal protection in the Pacific. 

This included description of methods for the identification of an erosion issue, determining the most appropriate solution for mitigation, assessing design conditions and the required steps for robust engineering design, considerations in undertaking an assessment of environmental effects, required documents for construction and construction and post-construction monitoring. This guideline is intended for a range of end-users including Government public works departments, coastal managers, consultants, non-Government organisations and contractors.

Services provided

  • Review of a range of coastal protection works including standard engineering structures and non-standard structures utilising local materials or softer approaches 
  • Development of a multi-criteria analysis and assessment against a range of structures 
  • Scoping, overseeing and reviewing/interpreting physical model results


Summaries can be found on the PRIF website here and here

Key personnel

Senior Coastal Engineer - Dr Tom Shand

Key Project Contacts

Tom Shand (Dr) Tom Shand (Dr)

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