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Title: Environmental impact assessment for beach nourishment, Anantara Kihavah Villas, Baa Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Zahid
Musthafa, Amir
Keywords: Project description
Description of the existing environment
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Impacts and mitigation measures
Stakeholder consultations
Environmental monitoring
Issue Date: May-2013
Citation: Zahid & Musthafa, A. (2013). Environmental impact assessment for beach nourishment, Anantara Kihavah Villas, Baa Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report is based on the proposed beach nourishment works in Anantara Kihavah Villas, also known as Kihavah Huravalhi. The island is located in Baa atoll, 133 away from the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in Hulhule’. Access to the island is mainly by sea planes. The operations of the resort island are under Anantara Hotels and Resorts, which is a renowned luxurious hotel group. An Environmental Impact Assessment was necessary for the works outlined in this report as they fall under the ‘Jadhuvalu R’ of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 2012 of the Maldives. In addition to meeting the regulatory requirements, the report would further assist the proponent and important stakeholders to make decisions in an environmentally sound manner, thereby ensuring the environmental sustainability of the project. In order to ensure a uniform volume of beach is available all around the island for its guests throughout the year, the operators have started undertaking a biannual sand pumping operation in the island recently. Beach Nourishment works at Kihavah is carried out by pumping sand from the lagoon to replenish 250m length of the eroded shoreline on the SW side. The proposed program is a continuous process for Kihavah, in order to maintain beach area available throughout the year for its guests. The process is integral in maintaining guest satisfaction and the overall quality of the resort. Sand for the nourishment is obtained from the lagoon on the SW side of the island, 70m away from the shoreline. The borrow area is 100 – 150m away from the reef edge on the SW side of the island. Alternatives, including the no project option and alternatives for the project components have been given Alternative methods are proposed, such as use of Sand filled nylon bags laid side by side perpendicular to the shoreline in the form of temporary groynes. The groyne field is proposed to be relocated depending on the seasonal variation to the long shore sediment transport. Sand will be pumped to a small extent to fill the sand bags. Further alternatives such as the use of hard engineering structures are also given, such as, creations of near shore breakwaters, rock revetments and creating feeder headlands have been looked into, but not recommended to be implemented in this environment. The overall environmental impacts of the project have been assessed using frameworks found on literature and the results indicate that the proposed project has a net positive impact. However, there are some significant impacts on the environment during the construction phase of the project and these needs to be mitigated to avoid any significant damage to the environment. Significance of the impacts and mitigation measures has been provided based on previous similar projects undertaken in the Maldivian environment and based on literature. In general, soft engineering techniques, as used for this project are favourable to the environment and it is the wish of the operators that such techniques be employed as much as possible without resorting to hard engineering solutions. Furthermore, the minor negative impacts from the project will be localised to the small lagoon in which Kihavah is located. Since there are no other islands in the lagoon, there will be no impacts on any neighbouring communities. It is recommended to continue to monitor the impacts of the proposed project by regular monitoring of shorelines and near shore currents and the changing marine environment. A two stage monitoring plan is given, which recommends monthly monitoring during the 1st year and less frequent monitoring for the next 5 years. Undertaking the monitoring, along with the mitigation measures is necessary to ensure the sustainable development of the project with minimum harm to the environment. Beach nourishment is widely regarded as an environmentally friendly method to combat coastal erosion. It is thus recommended that given the positive socio economic and environmental impacts from the project far outweighs the few negative local impacts, and since the project has major socio-economic benefits, it is advisable to allow the project to proceed as proposed.
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