Pipelines for Transporting Sand in a Tropical Island
Recently I was on holiday on a tropical island in the Maldives. The island is lush, with wide sandy beaches surrounding the emerald green and is home to a colorful and lively house reef.
While walking around the small island, I saw workers pushing a boat in the water. So I enquired about it, they said they were going to pump sand around. That was such a surprise that I was determined to find out more about it.
The Maldives is the lowest lying country in the world with 80% of the land area located less than 1 meter above mean high tide level. The climate in the Maldives is dominated by two monsoon seasons, the dry northeast monsoon runs from approximately December to the beginning of May and the wet southwest monsoon with strong winds and storms runs from mid-May to November. The ocean currents change direction when the monsoons shift because of change in wind direction. This causes natural movement of soil and sand material around islands in the Maldives.
To make sure the distribution of sand is even the island uses a boat and a pipeline to move sand around daily. The boat is equipped with a digger that takes sand and water into a 4” pipeline. Depending on the location where the sand is to be deposited, more sections are added to the pipeline using flanges.
Pipeline segments used to build a longer pipeline
The power is supplied by a cable that is plugged into a socket on land. The island is powered by three generators using diesel stored in a tank. They also have a desalination plant for fresh water. The internal compound includes a small factory with control panels and spare equipment. The operation was very impressive.
Diesel storage tank and control panel for power generators
Pipelines are everywhere, but no leak detection is required for this sand/water pipeline on the tropical island!