Can we turn the tide?
With the majority of the Kuwaiti coastline already built up, and a massive demand for waterfront housing, BuroHappold Engineering was engaged to create an additional 180 km of new beachfront development space.
Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City is located next to the Arabian Gulf coastline, some 85 km south of Kuwait City.
There are two natural tidal creeks at the site, and 50% of the 6,400 Ha of land for development is salt marsh. To create the beachfront development space, we needed to take seawater up to 5 km inland and then back out to the Arabian Gulf, whilst maintaining its quality. BuroHappold’s Water team worked with Cardiff University to model the tidal flows into the two existing creeks, the planned locations of two further inlets, as well as the extensive network of waterways.
With an average tidal range of only two metres, it was clear that innovative solutions would be required if the system was to be adequately ‘flushed’ without expensive pumping infrastructure. Leisure activities also placed specific demands on the design, since safety could be jeopardised if the speed of the water was too high.
To address the issues presented by the site’s tidal range, our team combined a number of subtle adjustments to the shape and alignment of each channel. This, along with introducing new tidal gates and throttles, created a water system that was beautifully simple in its final design.
Davood Liaghat, Head of Bridge Engineering and Civil Structures
Detailed hydrodynamic modelling and assessment of the tidal flushing performance allowed the design team to improve the waterway system, resulting in a naturally flushing waterside habitat. As everything is accomplished by tidal action alone, with no pumps, there are no requirements for additional energy sources.
Alongside the desirable waterside location, a complete urban environment with full utility infrastructure, waterway bridges and sewage treatment works needed to be in place for an emerging and growing population. The designed infrastructure is sufficient to meet not only the levels of early occupation but also a full thriving community.
The planned duration of the projects full 6,400Ha site is expected to be 25 years, with development in 10 phases. When complete, the population of the city is anticipated to exceed 100,000.
Constant water quality monitoring at Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City is proving that there is little difference between the water in the system and open water in the Gulf, even at the extremities of the system. Additionally, the original hyper saline creeks that once sustained almost no life are now home to a very healthy marine ecosystem, including five newly discovered species.
Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City is a unique and attractive water based development that embraces local cultural traditions, tempers the harsh environment with good quality construction, and incorporates a natural tidal flushing lagoon and waterway systems. It sets a high standard for waterside development in the Middle East, and is the first inland waterside development in Kuwait and the largest in the Gulf region.
With the successful completion of infrastructure and the first phases already developing into communities, along with the new water ecosystems breeding new life into the environment, BuroHappold is delivering the client’s vision for a vibrant new waterside city.
Services and approach
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