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Title: Environmental impact assessment : proposed reclamation and coastal protection at SH. Komandoo
Authors: Sandcays
Keywords: Marine water quality
Bathymetry and ocean currents
Reef health
Marine water quality
Issue Date: Apr-2011
Citation: Sandcays. (2011). Environmental impact assessment : proposed reclamation and coastal protection at SH. Komandoo. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report addresses the environmental concerns of the proposed reclamation and coastal protection in Komandoo in Shaviyani Atoll. The primary objective of the project is to protect the island coastline, improve the coastal environment and at the same time increase land area to the greatest possible extent thereby addressing the current land shortage issues experienced by the island community. Komandoo is the smallest in size of about 9 hectares but the second most populated island in Shaviyani Atoll with a current population of about 1,800 people. As part of the coastal improvements under the project, the existing small harbour on the eastern side will be shifted offshore from its current location providing harbour front area and increasing the space for boat building and maintenance and other industrial activities. The east harbour re-development works include construction of jetty quaywall, breakwater, revetment and land reclamation to shift the harbour further out of the existing east shoreline of the island. This east harbour, however, fosters limited use in the northeast monsoon and complements the recently developed harbour on the south of the island. There are two options proposed for the coastal protection for the area from the north east to the northwest of the island. One option is to have the beach reclaimed to nearly the edge of the reef and protected by a revetment and the other option is to have breakwater segments in this area and set back the beach from the breakwaters to allow the formation of some length of beach after reclamation. During consultations with the community a unanimous decision was made by some community members in a meeting with the newly elected council members to have beach in at least one part of the island. As such the area on the west or southwest and southeast near the new harbour of the island has been discussed with preference given to the location on the west or southwest of the island. It was believed that the sand dredged from the redevelopment harbour on the east side will not be sufficient to cover area that has been proposed for reclamation. In order to cater for this the lagoon and channel to the south of the island was surveyed and investigated for the location of possible sand borrowing spot. It was found that due to the existing natural hydrodynamics around the island the sand seems to be safely dredged from this south location as continuous sand deposition from natural process of wave action exist in this area. Furthermore, the reef in this area seems to relatively dormant from the previous harbour constructions activities near this area. Hence, minimal adverse environment impacts are expected in considering this location as potential borrow area. The observations made around the island in the context of the extent of damage to the protection structures that currently exist, it was concluded that there impact of the waves and the elevation of the water levels seems to be sever and higher respectively on the south west side of the island. Hence, the suggested height of 1.4m for the breakwater in the south west area seems to be inadequate as the water levels seems to be elevated and caused breaching of the existing protection walls and resulted in extensive damage. These existing elevated water levels can be attributed to the atoll geomorphology and sea bed levels near and offshore surrounding areas. Another observation from the severity of the damage to the existing revetment suggests that material used for the coastal protection works for the new developments have to be more thoroughly addressed. The proposed geotextile bag construction does seem to be adequate at least in this area to able to combat the impact of the wave and current induced forces on any protection structure place in this location. Furthermore, some of the senior citizens on the island expressed a lot of apprehension towards the proposed use of geotextile containers/bags for the breakwaters and revetments of the island. The overall design seems to be appropriate, however, in terms of the structures and proposed dredge sand extraction zones, there are some areas around the island where the current proposed design needs to be modified and these are set out in the alternatives recommended. The beach areas especially on the north side of the island has fair bit of pollution in the lagoon due to dumping of island waste in this area and a solution needs to be provided for the management of the solid waste on the island. In addition, the reclamation activities in the project cover some of the sea out falls placed on the island and recommendations are made for the extension of these pipelines. Another aspect to be considered is the possibilities of flooding during rainy season due to the proposed reclamation encompassing nearly the entire existing beach line. Suggestions are made to improve drainage for the island after the reclamation activity is completed. Substantial raw data is available from research actives carried out on the surrounding lagoon of Komandoo Island and these are suggested to be used as baseline information for establishing environmental monitoring activities for the island. It is thus advised to use drogue studies and water quality studies of the island lagoon be carried out at least for two years from the time of commencement of the project. It is suggested that the monitoring programme will encompass the socio economic impacts including positive and negative responses of the recipient community towards the different aspects of the project during and post project implementation. The Environment Protection Agency is to be furnished with annual monitoring reports for the set monitoring period. The overall environmental impacts of the project have been assessed using appropriate matrices and the results indicated that the proposed project has net positive impacts. Given that the project has several socio-economic benefits and few negative environmental impacts, it is recommended to allow the project to proceed as proposed. The recommended alternatives are also considered appropriate given the need to protect the island from the ever present threat of damage to coastal structures and the need for additional land. In fact, the environmental impacts of the project are relatively mild in considering the net socio-economic benefits and the existing and cumulative impacts on the environment.
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