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Jakarta to build massive barrier against rising sea

A $40 billion project aims to protect Jakarta from forces that could leave parts of the city submerged. (KuiperCompagnons/Witteveen+Bos)

Can Jakarta design its way out of its problems with sea-level rise?

Adele Peters writes in Fast Company that the swiftly growing city of more than 10 million people has little choice because it’s sinking rapidly. Each year, some neighborhoods retreat by up to half a foot (roughly 15 centimeters), which could leave parts of the city underwater by 2030.

To protect Jakarta, the government plans to construct a 21-mile (34-km) long seawall and 17 artificial islands over the next 30 to 40 years at a cost of $40 billion, she writes. Beyond forming a massive reservoir for excess water, the islands would provide housing and office space for a million people.

The project also would feature the installation of new water pipes so the city doesn’t have to pump so much groundwater — which hastens sinking. Such a mammoth project for a poor nation is filled with challenges. They include limited funding and a shortage of dredging vessels needed to dig up tons of soil.

Fast Company

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