Cuba uses wave energy to support recovery of coastal ecosystem
Granma | Friday, 6 March 2020 | Click here for original article
Cayo Coco, Ciego de Ávila. – A team of specialists from Cuba and Mexico has been able to show how a wave amplifier system can enhance a lagoon’s water exchange with the open sea, restore indicators of environmental health, and recover such coastal bodies of water in a short time, without exorbitant costs.
Scientists involved believe that the Coastal Lagoons Water Renewal system, known as REALCO, installed for the first time in northern Ciego de Ávila, could benefit other aquatic ecosystems in Cuba and the Caribbean.
Rafael Pérez Carmenate, head of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (Citma) office in the province of Ciego de Ávila, highlights promising progress made in recovering the Laguna Larga ecosystem, the largest natural reservoir in the region’s northern keys, with the new apparatus in operation for just 90 days.
"This aquatic ecosystem, with visible signs of deterioration,” said Pérez Carmenate, “is now recovering riverside vegetation, since the natural exchange of the lagoon’s waters with the sea was reduced from 45 days to just five."
According to studies, there is also a positive change in the bacteriological and chemical conditions of the aquatic ecosystem, allowing gradual wildlife restoration, mangrove revival and a growing fish population, as reported by scientists at Cayo Coco´s Coastal Ecosystem Research Center.
Hydraulic engineer Héctor Noa Segura reported more than 200 cubic meters of reinforced concrete were poured by the Cayo Coco Tourism Construction Enterprise to implement this unique project based on the sharing of technology, in an alliance of researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and Cuba’s Institute of Marine Sciences.
The wave amplifier system uses wave energy to move water into the estuary, with a flow ranging from 0.4 to 1.5 cubic meters per second. The system includes floodgates, a canal 240 meters long by 3.6 meters wide, pedestrian and vehicular bridges, a promenade and guardrails.