These gardens are under real threat of being swamped by the ocean. A row of houses in Haumoana, a town on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, is being dramatically reclaimed by the sea. Video of a tide with a strong swell shows the waves crashing over walls and sea defences and into people’s gardens.
image/text credit: Caters Clips
In some cases the white froth even manages to sweep across homeowners’ balconies, with some of them just left looking on. The people living in the houses are in a difficult position. They need to move, but their homes are uninsurable and therefore almost entirely impossible to sell.
How much damage those areas will suffer – and how much increased costs cities will face – depends in part on how much planning and preparation officials pursue, beginning now, experts say.
To prevent erosion, coastal engineers and officials often coat cliffs in concrete or build sea walls in front of them, a process called “armoring.”But, ultimately, armoring causes the beach, not replenished by cliff erosion, to disappear, washed away on coastal currents. It’s better to nourish beaches with sand from offshore or elsewhere and make them wider so waves don’t reach sea cliffs.