In desert regions where unconsolidated surface sediments are mobilized by the wind, problems of controlling drifting sand and moving dunes can be severe. In the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia drift rates reach 30m3m width annually and barchan dunes, up to 25 m in height, have an average rate of movement of nearly 15 m per annum.
The problems caused by wind blown sand can be tackled in four ways: (1) by enhancing its deposition, using ditches, fences or tree belts; (2) by enhancing its transport, using streamlining techniques, creating a smooth texture over the land surface, or by erecting panels to deflect the air flow; (3) by reducing the supply of sand upwind, using surface stabilizing techniques, fences or vegetation; (4) by deflecting the moving sand using fences or tree belts.
Moving dunes can be dealt with in three ways: (1) by removing them mechanically; (2) by dissipating them using reshaping, trenching or surface stabilization techniques; (3) by immobilizing them through altering their aerodynamic form, by surface stabilization or by using fences. In Saudi Arabia stabilization of 2.0 m wide strips, laid perpendicular to the direction of dune movement, using oil-based materials, is being widely adopted.