Land raising as a solution to sea-level rise: an analysis of coastal flooding on an artificial island in the Maldives

Sally Brown, Matthew P. Wadey, Robert J. Nicholls, Ali Shareef, Zammath Khaleel, Jochen Hinkel, Daniel Lincke, Maurice V. McCabe

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32 Citations (Scopus)


The Maldives (land elevation approximately 1m above mean sea-level) is often associated with the threat of rising sea-levels. Land scarcity due to population pressure is also a major issue. In the late 1990s a new 1.9km^2 2m high artificial island, Hulhumalé was created for urban expansion, including an allowance for sea-level rise. This paper assesses flood exposure through an extreme water level scenario on Hulhumalé taking into account sea-level rise and analyses potential adaptation options to extend island life. Results indicate that overtopping is likely to occur with 0.6±0.2m of SLR, with more severe, widespread flooding with 0.9±0.2m of sea-level rise. If the Paris Agreement goals are met, flooding is not anticipated this century, but under a non-mitigation scenario, flooding could occur by the 2090s. Building seawalls 0.5m, 1.0m and 1.5m high could delay flooding for 0.2m, 0.4m and 0.6m of sea-level rise, respectively. Land raising has been successful in Hulhumalé in reducing flood risk simultaneous to addressing development needs. Whilst new land claim and raising can be cost-effective, raising developed land provides greater challenges, such as timeliness with respect to infrastructure design lives or financial costs. Thus the transferability and long-term benefits of land raising requires further consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12567
JournalJournal of Flood Risk Management
Issue numberS1
Early online date9 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • adaptation
  • defence
  • flooding
  • island
  • land claim
  • sea-level rise

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