oa Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese - Fixing the High Water Mark Part 1 of 4 : the fatal flaw in the South African legal definition : transportation engineering

Volume 20, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 1021-2000



The seashore marks a phase change in the nature of the surface of the earth from solid to liquid. Since the liquid phase, the surface of the sea, is in a constant state of agitation, the physical boundary is in constant motion, but it does so within a defined fuzzy zone. There are two independent drivers: tidal waves (equinoctial spring tides in the extreme) which are deterministic, and wind waves (storm waves in the extreme) that are probabilistic. The magnitude of each varies enormously, from negligible to extreme in different parts of the world, and does so each independently of the other, although there is some tendency for coastal morphology to induce inverse correlation. It becomes a matter of policy, within the constraints of the natural physical processes, how to assess, select from and combine these two to demarcate a seashore boundary.

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