|Abstract: ||1. This Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report is to fulfill the regulatory requirements
under the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act of Maldives prior to the proposed
harbor restoration at Hoarafushi in Ha Atoll.
2. Hoarafushi harbor restoration project is part of the Construction of Harbors for Tsunami
Victims Project. This restoration project involves repair of harbors at 10 islands. The project
is funded by a joint loan taken from Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Saudi
Government and Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) by the
government of Maldives. The design consultancy was awarded to Alhabshi Consultants
Office, a Kuwaiti Company in association with Riyan Pvt Ltd (a Maldivian company). The
Agreement for consultancy was signed on 6th November 2008 between the Government of
Maldives and Alhabshi Consultant.
3. Project proponent of the proposed harbor restoration project is Ministry of Housing,
Transport and Environment. The project was bided as a design and consultancy project.
The main design consulting company Alhabshi Consultants is assigned to carry out the
design works, preparing tender documents, carrying out EIAs and construction phase
4. The proposed development project involves renovation and restoration of Hoarafushi
harbor. During the December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Hoarafushi harbor facility
received extensive damages. These include damage to harbor protection walls, side walls and
quay walls. Under the proposed project, new quay wall (concrete sheet piles, L section) and
breakwaters (armor rocks) will be constructed at the existing foot prints. The harbor basin
will also undergo maintenance dredging to -3MSL. Since the proposed project is only a
restoration project, size of the harbor basin will not be increased. The concept plan is
formulated in light of the new third generation harbor concept which is focused at
functionality of the harbor. In this regard harbor usage components such as passenger
embarking/disembarking, loading unloading area, fish landing, water and fuel recharging and
mooring area will be demarcated.
5. Hoarafushi (06° 58' 53" N and 72° 53' 48" E) is located on the west side of Ihavandhippolhu
atoll, 318 km from Male’. It is approximately 27km from Dhidhdhoo which is the capital of
Ha Alifu Atoll (northern most atoll in Upper North province. The existing harbor basin
and facility is located at the eastern side of the island facing Ihavandhippolhu atoll basin.
The project boundaries are the harbor front area, either side breakwaters, eastern side seawall
and breakwater section at the harbor entrance channel. Under the proposed project
maintenance dredging will be done at the basin and entrance area where necessary and this
activity will generate sediment plumes east and north eastwards. Dredged material removed
during the maintenance dredging works will be disposed at the western side of the island
where a bay shape area is observed (surplus after reuse during reconstruction work).
6. The existing harbor footprint will not be changed due to the proposed project, breakwaters
and quay wall will be constructed at existing foot print area (apart from small section of
breakwater at the western side of the harbor). Therefore the existing design of the harbor
will remain as it is. The length of the harbor after completion of renovation works will be
361m and width of 88m. The length of entrance channel is approximately 150m, while
width is 30m. The harbor basin will have a depth of -3MSL after completion of the
7. The harbor will have a total length of 523m (including side quay walls) of quay walls and
324m of rubble mound breakwater. The rubble mound breakwater will be constructed of
demolished material from existing breakwaters while the main breakwaters will be of
armored rocks. A small section of existing revetment wall will be retained at the eastern side
of the harbor which is in good condition.
8. Dredge material removed from the harbor basin (maintenance dredging works) will be
initially stockpiled near harbor area since part of the material will be required during
construction works. Part of the sediment will be used for back filling the area in between
the existing quay wall and new quay wall and for filling the geo textile bags of breakwaters
and side quays. Part of the sediment will also be used to level the harbor front area here a
large scour pit is observed. Approximately 22000m3 of sediment will be excavated from
deepening of harbor basin. A fair proportion of this sediment would be used for several
aspects of harbor repair and construction work while any remains will be disposed at the
erosion prone areas at the eastern side of the island. The sediment will be transported to the
disposal sites on trucks, although initially sediment will be stockpiled near harbor area for
9. Existing environment was examined to identify significant environmental components that
would be affected and to establish a baseline condition of the site. Available and relevant
literature on environmental impacts associated with similar projects was evaluated to identify
possible impacts. Oceanographic data and information on local hydrodynamics were
qualitatively assessed to determine the current pattern around the island which was based on
monsoonal wind patterns, wind generated waves, tidal flushing, geographic setting, the
topography of the lagoon and shape of the shoreline.
10. The harbor front area surveyed during the field visit had live coral cover less than 5%.
11. It is important to note that the most significant impact associated with the project would be
impact on the marine environment from sedimentation. Dredging and excavation often
carry a heavy load of sediments increasing sediment load in the water column causing
discoloration due to suspended sediments of the impact area for a prolonged period. Since
the project is a restoration project, the extent of sediment plum will be limited. The existing
damaged breakwaters will act as bunds therefore limiting the spread of sediment fines.
12. Since the proposed project is restoration project, environmental impacts associated with the
proposed project are considered minor to moderate. The significant environmental
components that are likely to be affected are the coral community established on the reef flat
and changes due to maintenance dredging works.
13. Mitigation measures are provided in the report for impacts that were categorized minor to
moderate. Impact mitigation measures and monitoring is carried out to compare predicted
and actual impacts occurring from project activities to determine the efficiency of the
mitigation measures. It has to be noted that environmental monitoring has not been done
since the completion of harbor, and extent of changes to habitat, live coral cover and
shoreline is not known. Even though the project is not envisaged to cause impacts of
shoreline (since construction will be done at existing footprint), it is important to monitor
14. The IDC and harbor committee stated that the size of harbor has to be increased due to
increase of vessels and size of vessels. Since the project is a restoration project funded by a
loan the scope of work is limited. Although the community stressed the issue of harbor
expansion the community was in consent to the proposed project. The existing harbor
facility was badly damaged during the 2004 tsunami and is in urgent need of repairs.
15. With due consideration to main environmental components identified and the magnitude of
impacts on these components from the proposed developments, the consultant concludes
that the project components and designs are feasible and appropriate mitigation measures are
given to correct and minimize unfavorable environmental consequences. Furthermore, the
public and community consultation responses were in favor of the project due to the socioeconomic
benefits foreseen to the community from a more functional harbor.|