The world’s largest man-made reef is now protecting the Indian city of Ullal from coastal erosion

By 10/09/2019 No Comments

Thanks to funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the world’s largest offshore reef for coastal protection has been constructed off Ullal, in Karnataka, India. This impressive feat of engineering gives the city and beaches of Ullal a permanent and effective protection from the ravages of the monsoon and storm waves.

An attempt at coastal protection had been installed in the past using the rock seawalls. However, the rock walls were not effective; they created downstream impacts and the scour in front of the walls increased.

Ullal coastal erosion mitigation was one of the tasks included in the ADB funded design of the “Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Project”, which was awarded to FCG ANZDEC to lead and manage during 2008-2010. FCG ANZDEC’s team of experts recommended an environmentally friendly solution for Ullal – creating offshore reefs and providing beach nourishment. The reef was the first solution to solve the erosion caused by an upstream port which blocked the sand supply. The solution is natural, sensitive and helps local people with space for their fishing boats on the sandy beach. The offshore reefs, whilst primarily providing coastal protection benefits, also help increase the fish catch for local fishermen.

These types of coastal protection solutions were implemented in the subsequent investment project. Now, through the second tranche of this investment project, also led and managed by FCG ANZDEC, we are conducting post-construction monitoring. The monsoon storms in 2017 and 2018 and Cyclone Okhi of December 2017 put the Ullal coastal protection to the ultimate test. The reef performed as it was designed to and besides protecting the coastline has begun to deliver other benefits to the region – revitalising the local tourism industry.

Ullal beach is situated on the southwestern seaboard of the Indian sub-continent, in Karnataka. Thanks to the man-made reef, it is now renowned as a beautiful place to visit. FCG ANZDEC is pleased to be part of a successful project from design to post-construction monitoring.



Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Project Executing Agency is the Public Works, Ports and Inland Water Transport, Government of Karnataka

Reef designer is Prof. Kerry Black, Sanctuary Beach Pte Ltd., Singapore