In the last few months Barcelona has been subjected to the
worst weather conditions since 1945. Nine easterly storms have removed tens of
thousands of tons of sand from the beaches, a problem discussed elsewhere in
this site section. The photographs below show the changing conditions on one
beach, l'Estanyol in Sitges during this period.
The current data for this beach is as follows:
Sitges Beaches: Width
Beach width July 1999 metres
Beach width 24 Nov 2001 metres
Beach width 1 June 2002 metres
Net loss metres
measurements taken in the centre of the beach; tidal range: 18
There has been total sand loss in the centre of the beach and
demolished steps, exposed cables and rubble suggest it may be safer to shut the
beach altogether until repairs can be made.
This is a very real crisis. Businesses in Sitges are already
being hit hard. Rainer Lepka of Phillip's Bar at Sant SebastiÓ beach reports
trade down fifty per cent. A whole section of beach opposite the bar has been
lost and regular customers are staying away. The government is in danger of
being caught in a vicious circle: falling tax revenues leading to even less
money being available for future beach replenishment leading to increasing loss
of tourist revenue.
Equally worrying, the sand is not returning as expected with
calmer conditions and constructive wave activity.
l'Estanyol beach Sitges, November 2001, after the first of the