Half of the 320 km coastline of Karnataka is subject to significant coastal erosion and only 58 km is protected.

The coastal zone is a key part of the economy, supporting agricultural and horticultural activities, fishing, aquaculture, sand and shell mining, harbour development, tourism and transport. Rural communities and urban areas are affected by coastal erosion. Rising sea levels and increasing number and intensities of storms will result in serious erosion hazards.

Coastal erosion is a natural phenomenon, but is often caused or worsened by human activities. The coastline is subject to economic development, which can create conflicts and pressures on the disturbed coastal environments. Sedimentation, erosion and water quality are affected.

The mandate for coastal erosion mitigation is shared among organisations with limited technical, human and financial capacities. There is limited capacity and experience in Karnataka with modern and sustainable coastal protection and management practices. Coordination of coastal protection and management between the central, state and district agencies is weak, with limited horizontal interaction.

Funding for coastal protection has declined and has been insufficient to carry out even urgent coastal protection works. Due to shortage of funds and institutional constraints, maintenance work is very rarely carried out.

The coastal zone requires initiatives to preserve the environment and address issues of shoreline degradation. More effective implementation and cooperation arrangements need to be developed. While capacities within Government can be increased, private sector involvement and community participation are required as well. The sustainability of the anti-erosion works requires local support for management and maintenance. For example: beach stabilizing work involving planting and management of dunes is a low cost protection measure but requires long term management.

To address the above issues, the Government of Karnataka has agreed with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to implement the Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Program (SCPMIP). The budget for the first tranche of SCPMIP amounts to over 41 million US Dollar (equivalent to Rupees 185 Crores), covering the first three years.