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close this bookInitial Environmental Assessment: Hydropower Development - Series no 6 (NORAD, 1993)
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View the documentForeword
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsPart I: General account
Open this folder and view contentsPart II: Documentation requirements for initial assessment of hydro power projects.
View the documentWill the project

Will the project

1. Affect areas important for settlement or utilization of natural resources?

· Might the climate of an area be affected by the construction of a sizable reservoir?

· What types of areas (existing land use, types of vegetation etc.) will be submerged?

· How many people will have to be moved because of inundation or other physical encroachments which destroy settlement areas or areas of importance for production activities? Will they be able to continue their traditional resource utilization in new areas?

· Will new activities or development of infrastructure hinder or alter the existing land use, or will new possibilities arise?

· Will the establishment of a reservoir create possibilities for other forms of utilization of the water resources, e.g. fishing, irrigation, water supply, recreation, tourism etc.? Which environmental impacts can be expected from these new activities?

2. Affect areas with animal or plant life worthy of protection?

· Will inundation, altered water flow or ground-water level harm important habitats or vital functions for conservation-worthy animal or plant life?

· Will the dam, roads or power lines create barriers for wildlife?

· Will the construction work affect or include areas with valuable or conservation-worthy animal or plant life?

3. Affect areas which contain conservation-worthy cultural relics, landscapes etc.?

· Will cultural relics or other objects/areas of importance for the local population's cultural activities be submerged or affected by other construction work?

· Will physical encroachments affect especially beautiful or unique sections of the watercourse or drastically change the water flow?

4. Change the water flow or other hydrological features?

· Will the project increase or decrease the risk of flood damage as compared to the present situation? Can these changes be quantified in terms of number of people in flood-threatened settlement areas, size of flood-threatened farmland etc.?

· Is the reservoir situated in an area exposed to earthquakes, resulting in greater risk of a breach in the dam? What will be the impacts of a breach?

· Can one expect a reduction of the total water flow due to increased evaporation?

· Will reductions in water flow or changed patterns in water flow change the accessibility to water for drinking, irrigation, animal husbandry, wildlife etc.?

· If the regulation leads to a changed level of ground water, which impacts can be expected on natural vegetation, water supply, agriculture etc.? The areas surrounding the reservoir as well as the areas along the watercourses will have to be assessed.

· Is there a risk of a permanent or periodical reduction of the water quality due to reduced water flow and consequently increased concentration of pollution?

· Is there a risk of particular pollution problems during the construction period as a consequence of tunneling, digging etc.?

5. Change the nutrient and sediment transport and the conditions for fish production?

· Are the soil conditions in the planned reservoir area and the watercourse vulnerable to erosion? Will the project increase erosion?

· Will the construction of reservoirs trap transported sediments and nutrients in the watercourse? To what extent will this affect the lifetime of the reservoir?

· Will a build-up of sediments in the reservoirs cause increased erosion downstream?

· Is there a risk that an increased concentration of nutrients in the watercourse can result uncontrolled eutrophication and unwanted aqua-vegetation in the reservoir?

· Will the trapping of sediments and nutrients lead to decreased productivity in agriculture and fishing downstream?

· Will possible changes, in the volume and pattern of water flow, flood possibilities etc. have any consequences for fish production and fishing possibilities in the watercourse and the sea areas beyond?

· Are there valuable species of fish in the watercourse dependent on migration for nourishment or spawning? To what extent will technical installations or regulations obstruct migration and/or spawning? Will this affect the quantity or the production of important fish resources or fish worthy of conservation?

6. Change the risk of spreading diseases?

· Will the establishment of a reservoir or changed water flow in a regulated watercourse change the conditions of life for disease-spreading organisms?

· Will the project lead to a population concentration or pattern of settlement which increases the risk of infection? Is there a risk that the reservoir will be used both as a source of drinking water and as a recipient of sewage?

7. Change the way of life of the local population?

· Is it possible that the project may cause sizeable increases in the population in the area? Is there a risk of potential conflicts between the new population groups and the original inhabitants due to pressure on limited resources, different cultural backgrounds, lifestyles, changed power-structures etc.?

· Will traditional and well-adjusted ways of life be endangered because of changes in natural environment, changes in production or influence from new population groups?

· Will any potential socio-cultural impacts of the project particularly affect certain groups (ethnic, gender, class, age)?

8. Influence the utilization of other natural resources?

· Will the establishment of a reservoir or connected activities force other activities (agriculture, animal husbandry etc.) to locate in other areas that are more ecologically vulnerable?

· Is the natural resource base sufficiently suited and stable to receive an increased population? Will the ecological carrying capacity be threatened?

· Will the construction work and any new activities place demands on water and fuelwood in areas where these resources are limited?

· Will increased accessibility due to development of infrastructure lead to the establishment of new activities like agriculture, forestry, industry etc.? To what extent will these activities affect the environment? (C.f. Checklists for initial screening or initial assessment of these project categories.)