Environmental Impact Assessment; EIA is a basic component of all the development projects. In Maldives, any project with a potential to have an impact on the environment is required to undertake an EIA study prior to the approval of the project. This process is regulated and managed by Ministry of Environment. Examples of projects requiring EIA's in Maldives include, resort development, harbour construction, land reclamation, channel deepening and dredging, sea grass removal, construction of over water infrastructures, establishment of process industries like fish processing, establishment of sewerage systems to name a few.
In Maldives, EIA process begins with an application to undertake an EIA.
Water Solutions have had experience in almost all types of projects requiring EIA. The EIA is undertaken by a group of consultants, both full time and associates from multidisciplinary fields. Once the EIA scope is finalized, we then visit the project site and gather data. The extent of data gathering may vary depending on the type of project. For example, all resort development projects will require data collection on terrestrial (vegetation, ground water, soil, flora and fauna), marine (marine water, reef health, lagoon) and the social environment.
Water Solutions utilizes the latest technology and innovative equipments for data collection using uptodate maps, water quality meters, GPS, laser measurement devices, noise and air pollutant measuring meters, depth meters and many more.
|Field assistant collecting data on the coastal environment, including shoreline and coastal structures for an EIA.|
All EIA reports have to follow the EIA regulations of 2012. An EIA report is prepared after collecting many information and data about a project. The following is a typical information and data requirements for a project.
1. Undertaking a baseline survey to assess and understand the existing environmental conditions of the project boundary defined by the Terms of Reference for the EIA.
2. Collect available long term data such as wind, tides, waves, temperature etc. about a particular project.
3. Describing the project proponent and the project in detail with all the information identified in the TOR.
4. Undertake a stakeholder consultation to identify stakeholder concerns and views with regard to the project.
5. Identify the major potential environmental impacts of the project through methods specified in the TOR.
6. Prepare and provide a realistic project schedule.
7. Identify mitigation measures and environmentally sound management practices.
8. Review alternatives to what is proposed in order to evaluate the different options.
9. Proposing an environmental monitoring programme that will be used to check and monitor the project.
Once Water Solutions is engaged in a project, everything related to the EIA will be managed by us. Following table outlines the activities involved in the EIA process and the activities.
|EIA Application||Water solutions/Client||EIA application will be send to the client once the proposal is accepted and signed. Water Solutions will submit the application, project brief and the TOR to Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of the client. Client need to provide a power of attorney letter stating that Water Solutions will be undertaking all the works related to the specific EIA|
Water solutions/Client/ E
|Once the applications are made, Environmental Protection Agency will invite the client and the consultant for a scoping meeting within 5 days.|
|Field surveys||Water solutions/Client||
To be undertaken once the
Terms of reference is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Field Survey will be designed based areas that are indicated in the TOR. Water Solutions will not undertake a bathymetric and hydrodynamic survey, in the field, as client has specifically requested not to do the survey. Hence, the client need to provide bathymetry of the areas which might be indicated in the TOR. Similarly the hydrodynamic survey’s carried out by the client shall be provided to Water Solutions, if such is required in the TOR.
|Preparation of the EIA||Water solutions||To be undertaken after the field visit. Water Solution will prepare the EIA report in accordance with the EIA Regulations and the TOR for the project|
|Submission of the EIA||Water solutions||Once the EIA is prepared, Water Solutions will submit the EIA along with the fees to EPA.|
|Follow up||Water solutions||Water Solutions will undertake the follow up once the EIA is submitted.|
|Approval||EPA||After the review process which takes maximum of 28 working days, a decision statement will be issued.|
Although, the EIA report is prepared by us, there are certain things and responsibilities of the client. The most common includes:
1. Ensure that the project has been approved by the relevant government authorities and provide documentary proof of this.
2. Providing all relevant information about a project, including any studies, reports, charts or maps that have been prepared for the project.
3. Provide inputs to the consultant when required.
4. Thoroughly read the EIA report before it is submitted.
5. Make sure that the environmental management section of the report (impacts, mitigation and monitoring sections) are well understood and are aware of the monitoring costs involved in the project implementation stage.
The duation of preparing an EIA will vary from project to project. In general, an estimated timelines for EIA's are outlined below: