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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed resort development at Kanbalifaru, Shaviyani Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Sandcays
Keywords: Resort development projects
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing environment
Water quality
Geology and geomorphology
Socio-economic environment
Construction impacts
Operational impacts
Socio-economic impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Aug-2014
Citation: Sandcays. (2014). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed resort development at Kanbalifaru, Shaviyani Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report addresses the environmental concerns of the proposed development of a resort on Kanbaalifaru; shaviyani Atoll. The island is about 195,709 m2 in its size. Kanbaalifaru is located close to the eastern rim of Shaviyani atoll at 6° 7'26.84"N and 73°15'18.89"E. There are no other islands within the house-reef of the island. The Proponent of the proposed development is Kanbaaalifaru Development Pvt. Ltd. The Proponent proposes to develop a medium to high end resort on Kanbaalifaru with 201 rooms, having a bed capacity of 402, which comprise of 30 x Beach Villas (2 rooms each); 50 x Ocean view villa; 18 x Family Villas (2 rooms each); 30 x Water villas and 25 x Superior water villas. In addition to these, guest facilities will include an Arrival Jetty; water villa arrival point; Reception and Admin office, a Main Restaurant; Main bar, Specialty restaurant, Spa Complex, Dive Center & Medical Clinic, Shops, Beach Bar/Coffee shops and Sports area. The proposed development will conform to all current environmental legislation including the Regulation on the Protection and Conservation of the Environment in the Tourism Industry. The main negative impact of the proposed development will be the impact of deforestation due to land clearance for proposed buildings. There may also be some degree of sedimentation due to excavation to place footings of jetties and water villa structures, which is considered minor negative. The other impacts due to environmental infrastructure such as power generation, sewage and wastewater disposal and water production are considered general impacts similar to all such developmental projects. There are no specific concerns or environmental impacts related to these. These impacts are inevitable. Yet, every effort is to be made to minimize the impact and footprint of the impact. To minimize the impact of deforestation, buildings will be designed around mature trees minimizing their removal. If a mature tree were to be removed, they will be carefully uprooted and transplanted elsewhere. It is noteworthy that there are very few mature trees in Kanbaalifaru with a few mature coconut palms. The other negative impacts of the water villas include impacts on sediment transport around the north-western side and south-western side of kanbaalifaru and some minor degree of sedimentation on the reef nearby. The impact on hydrodynamics would be minimized by placing water villas as far away from live reef areas and dynamic beach areas as possible especially on the southern end where there is a dynamic sand spit. To minimize the impact on longshore sediment transport, the walkways of water villas will stand on piles with their footings buried in the seabed. Care will also be taken to minimize sedimentation on the reef when placing water villa footings and columns. Precast footings and columns will be used and excavator movements shall be minimized. Excavator is preferably moved on barge to minimize sedimentation and if high bed excavators were to be used, they shall move as far from coral reef flat areas as possible. This impact of sedimentation will be short-lived given that tidal and wind-driven currents would normally carry the sediments away from the reef at all tides and monsoons. It is vital, therefore, to monitor the condition of the reef prior to the start of works, during the works and after the works to establish the true nature of the impact. Transplanting live corals in impacted area would be a priority. There are very few live corals in development zones, which may be impacted. The other environmental impacts of the proposed development include solid waste management, water supply, sewage disposal and energy generation. Solid waste will be generated both during the constructional and operational phase of the resort. Constructional waste will be disposed of by the Contractor to Vandhoo in Raa Atoll or Thilafushi in Kaafu Atoll. During the operational phase, a waste management center established on the island will segregate waste and dispose of them in a manner prescribed in tourism regulations. It is during the construction stage that the waste is often not managed properly and waste ends up in the environment. Therefore, it is vital that waste management procedures are in place during construction phase to ensure waste is appropriately dealt with. Supervision and awareness of construction workforce is highly recommended. Desalination, sewage treatment and power generation are fuel-dependent processes and fuel efficient desalination technology, STPs and, especially, generator sets will be installed in the island. Solar water heaters have been proposed and photovoltaic system incorporated, the costs of which have already been taken into consideration. Gravity sewers will deliver the sewage with multiple pumping stations, which will be minimized by appropriate design. Treated effluent with low levels of BOD (less than 20mg/l) will be disposed to the sea at not less than 10m below MSL and 5m away from the reef edge. Therefore, the impact from sewage disposal will be almost negligible. In fact, the daily peak flows is quite small that the proposed sea outfall would provide over 500-fold dilution to the sewage effluent even if it were raw sewage, which would occur only in the unlikely event that the sewage treatment plant fails. Hence, no further mitigation measures have been considered for sewage disposal and treatment. In order to minimize the energy-intensive nature of wastewater treatment, it has been recommended to avoid wastewater treatment and to consider direct disposal to sea or ground, if possible. Although the island is located within the atoll, the reef on the east is subjected oceanic swells from the channel between Fonadhoo and Eriyadhoo, therefore, the southeastern side or the north-northeastern side of the island is considered appropriate for disposal of raw sewage. Furthermore, due to the narrow nature of the island, the groundwater is quite saline and a proper groundwater lens is not formed, therefore, sewage and wastewater (being primarily domestic in nature) may be disposed into the ground through a septic tank system. The project encompasses clean technology and alternative energy options will be investigated with specific focus on a solar energy system. This will complement the proposed diesel generator sets. In addition, solar water heaters will be installed to provide hot water to all guest units. Also, to minimize fuel and water consumption, it is proposed to install energy and water efficient technology including faucets. The costs of these would be included in the project. Environmental monitoring has also been incorporated into the project. Arrangements for monitoring during constructional and operational phase will be considered immediately upon EIA approval. Monitoring will be undertaken according to the monitoring programme recommended in this report. Recommended monitoring for the project includes the monitoring of shoreline at predetermined and bench-marked tide levels, beach profiles and drogues at locations given in the EIA report, marine water quality at the location of the intake, brine discharge, sea outfall and a control location, air and groundwater at a location close to the powerhouse and desalination plant and a control location and quality of product water at 3 specified locations including product water tank. Fuel and water production data and clean energy initiatives may also be incorporated. Annual monitoring reports have to be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency over the monitoring period and shall include fuel and water consumption data and greenhouse gas emission calculations. The overall environmental impacts of the project have been assessed using appropriate matrices and the results indicated that the proposed project has net positive impact. Given that the project has major socio-economic benefits although there would be some negative environmental impacts, it is recommended to allow the project to proceed as proposed.
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