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Storm surge barriers and closure dams are hard engineered structures with the primary function of preventing coastal flooding. Their secondary role is to shorten the required length of defences behind the barrier. This reduces defence failure risks, as well as additional defence cost risks. Storm surge barriers are movable or fixed barriers or gates that are closed to prevent flooding when an extreme water level is forecast. Closure dams are fixed structures that permanently close off a river mouth or estuary. These and other fixed barriers discharge water through, or pump it over, the barrier (IOC 2009).