Balluta Bay closed after storm disrupts sandy beach

The newly nourished sandy beach at Balluta Bay was battered by today’s stormy weather, forcing the authorities to close off the area temporarily

Recently nourished Balluta Bay this morning
Recently nourished Balluta Bay this morning

Sand at Balluta Bay was displaced and dragged back into the sea after today's stormy weather, prompting the Malta Tourism Authority to close off the area.

Friday's storm left deep furrows in the sand and some of the beach furniture introduced last August as part of a sand-nourishing exercise was destroyed.

The project carried out by the MTA last August collected sand from the middle of the bay and shifted it upwards to extend the beach outward and sideways.

The MTA said that it was a positive sign that there is still ample sand on the newly nourished beach, describing this a sign of the project's effectiveness.

However, a spokesperson for the authority said that since the swimming season was not over yet, the authority would relocate some of the sand over the next days to fill in the channels formed by the running water.

While the August exercise resulted in a larger beach that could be enjoyed by people and tourists, some critics argued that the project was a waste of money because wave action and inclement weather would eventually drag the sand back out unless other measures were taken to minimise the natural erosion.

The MTA spokesperson said that the beach nourishment project was experimental and intended to gain an understanding on the way such nourished beaches react during summer and specific storm conditions.

The MTA said "various coastal constructions present in the bay’s vicinity have over the years altered wave dynamics", which also had to be studied.

"The beach has been monitored on a quasi-daily basis and this will continue over the following weeks and months so as to acquire the necessary knowledge to assess the project in its totality. Experts will be employed to check whether the sand has been deposited at the bottom of the beach slope or lost further out at sea," an MTA spokesperson said.

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