- Environment & Infrastructure
- Strategic consulting
- Specialist consulting
- The Living City
- Happold Consulting
The site of the Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City development is adjacent to the Arabian Gulf coastline, 85km south of Kuwait City. From two environmentally impoverished hyper saline creeks, an ecologically rich waterway city is growing. The development of the city is expected to be delivered in up to 10 stages over the course of a 25 year period which started in 2002.
The primary objective of Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City is to create a unique and attractive water-based development that encompasses local cultural traditions, tempers the harsh environment with good quality construction, landscaping and recreation facilities; and sets a high standard for waterside development in the Middle East.
By any stretch of the imagination Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City is immense, occupying an area approximately 67 km². Much of it was classified as Sabkha: a very low lying salt encrusted land, prone to flooding and inhospitable to most flora or fauna. Due to sea level changes over the millennia much of the subsoil consisted of saturated silts and fine sands, virtually impossible to build on. Added to this, with sea levels predicted to change by an average of 50 cm this century, most of this land would have been lost to the sea. The challenge for the project’s multidisciplinary team of engineers and scientists therefore was how to create an economically feasible and environmentally sustainable development able to provide much needed beachfront property taking all these factors in to consideration.
With a project overview that currently consists of three complete phases and with a marine and landside planning concept agreed; the development is taking impressive shape.
Strategic schematic conceptualisation was carried out through to the detailed design stage of this multi-use development, which will include over 70km of inland waterways. Water quality was identified at the outset as a key ingredient to a successful development for our client. Marine science and engineering became a critical service which led to schematic and detailed modelling of pollutants, sediments, waves, tidal exchange and waves to maximise water quality and drive the value engineering design of the development.
With respect to water quality modelling methodologies were applied to each of the 5-year, 15-year and 25-year development phases with positive feedback to verify the models throughout. Careful consideration was given to environmental and economic issues prior to the creation of a masterplan. Initial environmental impact assessment took into account the existing topography, prevailing winds and tides, water quality and land and marine ecology – factors which all have a major bearing on the provision of site infrastructure, road transport and utility supply.
Settling basins, on site filter systems and pollution traps are to be provided at sufficient and regular intervals along the entire length of highways in order to protect local wildlife (both flora and fauna), and to provide a suitably clean and protected environment.
Our work on Sabah Al Ahmed Sea City is ongoing, but we have already contributed significant value to this impressive scheme. Our services have ensured the construction of waterside structures that tie in with the local cultural environment. By effectively planning the routes of the inland waterways and modelling the tidal effects that go with them, the development will be well served by water without risking its stability. As each phase has developed and further data becomes available from the successfully delivered work lessons learned have been reincorporated into the ongoing design and delivery process to ensure best value.