The Maspalomas dunes could disappear within 100 years unless the current loss of sand is reversed, according to experts.

The dune and beach ecosystem has lost 45,000 cubic metres of sand per year for 50 years. It stopped being self-sustaining when tourist development in the Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés area hemmed in the dunes and altered wind patterns.

To reverse the loss and protect one of Gran Canaria’s most famous natural icons, the Gran Canaria Government (Cabildo) plans to dredge sand that has blown into the sea and put it back into the dunes. The project starts with a two-year trial.

60,000 cubic metres of sand will be recovered from just offshore and pumped back onshore over two years. The idea is that the wind will then spread the sand back into the dunes as it dries.

The dredging and sand transport will happen at night during the two quietest periods of the year in the area; May/June and October/November.

The dunes will also be repopulated with native trees to improve sand retention and reduce the rate of sand flow into the sea.

The trial will cost 600,000 euros not including the scientific studies that will test its effectiveness.