More and more local governments start to create sandy beaches at their strands. This new trend comes with a rare and significant consensus as it benefits both tourism as well as environment. Those who already has sandy beaches are satisfied with the increasing number of visitors, while the others are waiting for permissions, although these projects are not cheap. The only remaining obstruction are the birds.

Soon the vacationers will feel a nice crackling of sand under their feet at Fonyód. As I Love Balaton writes, HUF 400 million was spent on the reconstruction (or professionally said: sanding) of Sándor-telepi strand’s 200 meters long part. The planning took several years, about 2000 cubic meter tested sand was transported to the strand. The work will proceed towards the mainland, some protected bays will be made to minimize the threat of erosion- explained IstvánCsonki, director of Közép-dunántúliVízügyiIgazgatósá, to Origo.

Two shots were successful so far

The tourist-drawing power of a sandy beach is well illustrated with the example of Balatonlelle. In the middle of the last decade when the yacht port was being built, the mayor made a bold move and transported the 62 thousand cubic meters sand, which was scratched out during the works, to a 300 meters long shore. “A sanding like this requires a lot, but this way it did not cost anything for the town “- said Mayor IstvánKenéz about the idea, the mayor who found it out. The beach was not created on the mainland then, the area before the concreted shore was filled. The concrete shore protection remained, although is planned to be removed, so the beach will getits final form, which will suit the regulations.

As the mayor said, he “received both hot and cold” for the idea; however, the statistics proved that he was right. “Before, there were 2500-300 people on the strand on a nice summer day, now it is about 7000. The income tripled, and many family with small children reserve accommodation here because of it. Many ask before reservation that how far is the sandy beach?” The upkeep of the shore has its cost obviously, but “we can solve it on our own. We have to clear every morning the garbage drifted from the north shore”- says the mayor.

Another success is the strand of Balatonfenyves, where the local government created two sandy beaches at the 1037 meters long central strand in 2012. The concrete and the stones were removed, that place was filled with sand from the Balaton (according to the regulations, only sand from the lake can be used for this purpose).

The strand received positive feedback in recent years, and although there are no exact data available here, it is sure that more families with childrenarrive. Following the first successes new towns decided to sand their shores: Balatonfüred, Balatonfűzfő and Balatonszepezd received permission this year, while some others are waiting for the green light.

The unusually low water gave the idea

For the question why is sanding popular againIstvánCsonki said that shores were sanded even in the 60s and 70s. The sand was transported with Baharts’s ships from the lake to the shores(the artificial coast was already finished then). However, this solution was forgotten soon, probably due to financial reasons. What raised the current interest is the unusually low water between 2000 and 2004. While half of the inhabitants were afraid that the lake will completely dry out, the other half packed up their children and the sandbox toys and drove to the south coast.

Both parents and children enjoyed this unusual state, they could lay on the sand banks next to the water, while their parents did not have to watch them over from behind the concrete and stone. “The local governments took the idea from here that they actually have sandy beaches, they only have to build them”- explains IstvánCsonki the reason behind this breakthrough.

There cannot be sandy beach everywhere

The Hungarian government does not operate any strands, the sanding of the coasts was the decision of local authorities or private operators. They make the plans, the office responsible for waters examines that the constructions in the waterbed are professional, whether the result is sustainable, and they only give permission when everything is all right.

According to IstvánCsonki, to decide the possible places where sanding can be done “a very good fluid mechanics experiment is required, mainly because the ruling north-northwest wind is changing around the lake.” Balaton’s flow is thwart, which contributes to the deposition of fine sand on the south coast by the flow, while on the north shore, there is a fine, powder like material under the swimmers feet. “It is also important to make a fluid mechanics test before the final decisions because the flow can take away the sand in one season. It does matter which place will be sanded: only those shores are suitable which are in balance or likely to be filled. Additionallyit is important that the sanded shores are surrounded by reed or artificial protection to prevent the outflow of sand”- reveals the main technical details Csonki.

A sandy beach benefits for everyone

Unusually, the trend of resanding benefits both tourism and nature as it restores a nature like state, hence helping the self-cleaning of the water – experts state. The south coast was sandy, seashore-like for centuries, the northern was rather sludgy. Thanks to the tourism, the lake gets shores which resembles the original state after about 50 years. “Important question, because it is our ultimate goal to have as many natural shores as possible”- agrees László G.-Tóth, director of MTA ÖkológiaiKutatóközpontBalatoniLimmológiaIntézet.

Long before, the northern wind created small sandy bays on the south coast. These sand dunes before the coast and the sand is good for the running of the fish, the dead plant parts was drifted to the shore in autumn where those could rot ( that time rather reed parts drifted to the shore than plastic bottles). When the southern railroad was completed, the Balaton was moved “inside”. In the 60s and 70s the filling of the coast started as well as the coast protection was built, which materialized for the residents as huge stones and the concreted shore.

Birds might corrupt this idyl

Experts say that the practice will show if this nostalgic new trend will work. Although László G-Tóth welcomes the idea of resanding, he says that this will not cause any major change in the ecosystem of Balaton unless there will be at least a dozens of kilometres of sandy beaches. He thinks that this has more perspective on the south coast, but for a time it can work on the northern coast, although the sand there might need refilling in every few year.

According to IstvánCsonki it is important that local governments share experiences with each other. “By the way, the nature would know on its own what to do, but it would not make us happy, because suddenly there will be water in our weekend houses”- he adds.

László G.-Tóth draws attention to a hygienic aspet:

“Birds like to poo on sandy beaches – this should be kept in mind in summer when it is hot”.

based on article of
traslated by Oliver Tamasi



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