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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed water supply system in Rasdhoo, Alif Alif Atoll
Authors: CDE Consulting
Issue Date: 1-Mar-2017
Publisher: CDE Consulting. (2017). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed water supply system in Rasdhoo, Alif Alif Atoll. Male': Maldives.
Abstract: The purpose of this document is to fulfil the requirements to get necessary environmental clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency to install the proposed Water Production Supply System at Rasdhoo, Alif Alif Atoll. The proponent of this project is Ministry of Environment and Energy. The main rationale for the project is to improve the health condition and quality of life of residents of AA.Rasdhoo by establishing a proper potable water supply system that will provide clean and safe water for the residents of Rasdhoo. The project is intended at providing an integrated water supply system covering rainwater and desalinated water production and supply. The proposed project involves the establishment of an integrated water resource management system using RO plant and rainwater harvesting system. The project also involves establishment water supply network system and water storage tanks. The project will use borehole for water intake to the RO plant. Duration of the project is approximately 12 months. An area of 680 sqm has been approved to implement the project. Currently the island population use groundwater and rainwater. However, the quality of groundwater is very poor and is highly contaminated. Hence, it is not appropriate for drinking purposes. In addition, the supply of rainwater is not guaranteed during dry periods, hence it does not sure sustainable and continuous supply of water for the residents. All project activities will be in conformance to the laws and regulations of the Maldives, and relevant international conventions that Maldives is party to. The key laws and regulations applicable to this project are: Environmental Protection and Preservation Act, Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation 2012, Desalination Systems Regulations, and Waste Management Regulation 2013. The existing condition of the island and the existing RO plant site was assessed for this report. Assessments conducted include marine assessments at the existing brine outfall and alternative outfall location. Groundwater quality and baseline noise level measurements were also taken. The assessment shows that the water supply system can be developed on the island with limited implications on the environment. The assessment shows that the proposed developments involve significant impacts on the marine environment due to brine outfall construction, brine discharge and operation of vehicles and machinery. The project also involves moderately significant health and safety risks due to equipment handling and pollution. However, the predicted impacts can be minimized considerably with the proposed mitigation measures. Significant impacts of operation stage include, impacts on terrestrial environment during vegetation clearance during project mobilization, marine degradation due to brine discharge, increased GHG emissions due to RO plant and operation of pumps stations, and increased cost of living due to additional cost in purchasing water. The assessment shows that the proposed project has many positive impacts including improved quality and accessibility to potable water, protection of groundwater aquifer, reduction of water related disaster risk, and increased employment and business opportunities The alternative options were evaluated for the no project option and alternative brine outfall location. The “No Project” option is deemed infeasible, given the current condition of water supply system in the island. An alternative site for brine outfall was also explored, but given the advantages associated with the proposed outfall, it is the preferred option. Monitoring plan is designed to assess any changes to the coral reef environment of the island, ground and marine water quality as these are the key areas that will be impacted from this project. Monitoring costs is estimated at MVR 50,000 per annum. The management plan for this project is designed to produce a framework for anticipated impacts, including practicable and achievable performance requirements and systems for monitoring, reporting and implementing corrective actions. In addition provide evidence of compliance to legislation, policies, guidelines and requirements of relevant authorities. Stakeholder consultations were held with Rasdhoo Island council, Rashoo public, utility centres in the island and Health Protection Agency. Both Rasdhoo Island Council and public are in favour of this project. The council recommended to take extra caution during the excavation process to avoid disruptios to the existing cable netowks in the island. HPA, currently does not have any regulations for quality of potable water, however they stressed the importance of maintaining workers health and safety during construction stage and to avoid water stagnations in the constructions site. In conclusion, this project has been designed in conformance to the relevant laws and regulations of Maldives but requires final approval from EPA for the detailed drawings. The most significant impacts are expected to be short-term impacts for the construction phase. Operational stage impacts are mainly limited to brine outfall location and emission due to power generation. However, mitigation measures have been proposed to adequately minimise these significant impacts. Overall, the project will have positive impacts to the island community of Rasdhoo.
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