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close this bookInitial Environmental Assessment: Water Supply, Wastewater, Irrigation - Series no 7 (NORAD, 1994)
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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 environmental assessment
View the documentWill the project

Will the project

1. Lead to excessive exploitation of water resources, e.g. the groundwater sources and surface water sources?

Water supply and irrigation:

· Is the project planned on the basis of adequate data on the volume and condition of the water resources? Has for instance a hydrological mapping of the area which describes the capacity of the groundwater aquifer and the depth of the groundwater table been implemented?

· Is it certain that the extraction rate of groundwater does not exceed the natural replenishment of the resource?

· Is there a risk that extraction of groundwater may lead to the intrusion of saltwater from a nearby coastline and thereby reduce the quality of water?

· Is the project area especially vulnerable to the impacts of a lowered groundwater table?

· Will extraction of water from surface sources, for instance a river, cause a reduced water flow downstream with impacts on the ecology and utilisation of the watercourse?

· Will extraction from surface sources cause reduced recharging of the groundwater in the area or in any other manner substantially affect the hydrological cycle?

· Are there existing or planned activities in the area/watershed area which may affect the water resources and thereby alter the preconditions for the project?

· Have the possibilities for re-circulation of water been investigated and assessed during the project planning?

2. Cause pollution problems?

Water supply:

· Will the wells be adequately secured so that these are not contaminated by people, animals, or activities in the area?

· Will periodic control of the water quality in the drinking water wells be implemented?

· Can the intended utilised groundwater source contain so much nitrate that it may be a health hazard?

· Is the groundwater acidic (low pH) thereby causing corrosion and destruction of water pumps?

· Are the intended utilised pumps dependent on grease for maintenance which may contaminate the drinking water?

· Will any use of chlorine as disinfectant be implemented cautiously?

· Will reduced water flow as a consequence of inundation or substantial extraction of water lead to reduced dilution of pollution in the river and thereby increase the pollution concentration?

· Will water extracted from surface sources be sufficiently purified in well-adapted purification units?

Wastewater management and sanitation:

· Will activities within wastewater management and re-circulation of wastewater be based on thorough assessment of the content of the wastewater, the recipient capacity to receive substances and, in the case of discharges to soil, the soil's capacity to filter substances?

· Will activities for discharge of wastewater to surface water sources be based on assessments of existing pollution?

· As regards discharge to lakes will consideration be given to the fact that these constitute part of a larger integrated run-off system which includes rivers, streams etc.?

· Will discharge of wastewater take place in estuaries?

· Is there a danger of contamination of groundwater sources from the surroundings, so that it may be relevant to secure or protect a certain area around the sources to limit the risk of pollution?

· Will smell or noise from treatment processes for wastewater and sludge deposition be a problem for the immediate environment?


· Is there a risk that irrigation through canal systems will spread pollution from agriculture (for instance residue of pesticides) and other activities?

· Will reduced water flow as an impact of dam construction or substantial extraction of water lead to less dilution of pollution in the river and thereby increased concentration of this pollution?

3. Cause health problems?

Water supply:

· Will due consideration be given in the planning and implementation of the project to health and hygiene to avoid increasing the frequency of disease? For instance will one establish separate training programs for health and hygiene, and implement regular maintenance of the facilities?

· Will water sources for the purposes of drinking and preparation of food be held separate from sources for other purposes?

· Will one, for instance through training, secure that the water is not polluted when it is fetched or afterwards?

· Will adequate drainage of well areas be secured to prevent water stagnation?

· Will enough water be secured for the purposes of washing of hands and body, laundry, or other washing?

· Is there a risk of urban water supply systems spreading diseases and causing epidemics due to inadequate purification units, poor maintenance etc.?

Wastewater management and sanitation:

Also confer with the checklist questions under 2 above.

· Will latrines be placed so that they cannot pollute drinking water sources?


· Is the risk for spread of water-related diseases assessed before implementation of the project?

· Will canals be located in the terrain so that one does not obtain passages with stagnant water? And will adequate maintenance be ensured to prevent the growth of plants in canals and ponds which make good habitats for f.ex. snails which transfer bilharzia?

· Will wastewater be utilised for irrigation? If so, is the wastewater properly purified prior to such utilisation?

· Will turbulence be created through the establishment of dams and/or sluices increasing the spread risk of river blindness?


· Is the risk for work-related accidents during the construction and operational phase reduced to a minimum?

4. Cause soil erosion?

Water supply and wastewater management:

· Can an area around water points suffer erosion due to strain on the vegetation cover caused by trampling of humans and animals and increased grazing?

· Will water and drain pipes located on the surface become physical barriers and cause changes in the transport or migration patterns for humans and animals, with subsequent erosion in new paths and transport routes?


· Is there a risk that irrigation canals can cause considerable erosion?

· Will adequate maintenance of canals and facilities be secured. And will a controlled management and distribution of the water resources in the irrigation system be implemented in order to avoid floods and subsequent erosion and destruction of facilities?

· Have assessments of the soil type been made in cases of drip irrigation to ensure that the soil is suited for this type of irrigation?

· Will new dams be constructed in areas especially vulnerable to erosion?


· Are there cases of soil erosion in the watershed area that may adversely impact the project by reducing the water quality, reduce the recharging of groundwater sources, cause siltage of dams etc.? If so, has the project taken this into consideration and planned/suggested erosion prevention measures in the watershed area?

5. Cause inundation of large areas through dam construction?

Water supply and irrigation:

· Will dams of such size be built that large areas containing settlements, agriculture, conservation-worthy fauna and flora, beautiful and valuable landscapes, and cultural relics will be covered by water?

· Will inundation cause substantial changes to the water flow downstream?

Confer initial assessment booklet 6. Hydropower development for a more thorough assessment of dam establishments.

6. Cause waterlogging, salinization or other damages to the soil?


· Have the contents and characteristics of the soil and water been assessed prior to implementation of the project?

· Will drainage canals be constructed with capacity to prevent the problems of waterlogging? And will they enable a thorough "cleansing" of the soil if salinization and alkalinization occurs?

· Will the management of the water resources in the irrigation system ensure the correct amount of water to the right time?

7. Affect vulnerable ecosystems or conservation worthy landscapes and cultural relics?

Water supply, wastewater management and irrigation:

Will the project affect ecosystems which are especially vulnerable to intrusions in the hydrological cycle; e.g. estuaries, wetlands, mangrove areas, delta areas, littoral zones and shore/bank areas?

· Will the project affect water resources or other landscape elements of special importance to the scenic value or affect the local population's sense of belonging to the area?

· Will the project affect cultural relics, burial sites, or places or objects of religious importance?

· Will special considerations be given to the design of facilities and installations to ensure an adaptation to the landscape?

8. Cause user conflicts or other impacts for the community?

Water supply and sanitation:

· Will the localisation of wells and water pumps be based on assessments of land tenure, ownership rights to water resources, and the role of women as regards water and water usage?

· Will adequate consideration be given to the population's wishes, any traditions, taboos and symbolic values connected to water and sanitation?

· Is there a risk that the water supply may cause an inadvertent migration to the area which may cause conflicts as regards the usage of water and other natural resources?

· Can the establishment of water supply for new activities in the area, for instance tourism, create conflicts with the existing water supply system through competition as regards the same resource?

· Is there a risk that increased competition as regards water resources indirectly forces certain population groups to move from the area to more vulnerable areas?

Wastewater management:

· Can conflicts as regards area utilisation ensue due to wastewater treatment ponds requiring relatively large areas?

· Can discharge of wastewater disturb other use of the water resource, for instance fishing, washing, bathing etc.?


· Will irrigation be introduced to an area where this previously has not been practiced?

· Is the project based on extensive migration to the area as part of a settlement project?

· Can an uncontrolled migration to the area be a consequence of the project?

· Will measures to reduce social unrest and conflicts between the residents and the immigrants be given consideration in the project?

· Irrigation farmers can f.ex. acquire some prestige compared to other farmers in the local community. Will the project take adequate consideration to traditions, power structures etc. in the area?

· Will the project, though it be new constructions or rehabilitation of existing irrigation facilities, adequately consider the role of the water management as regards productivity, damage to facilities and the emergence of negative environmental impacts?

· The construction of dams may force population groups to move from the area. Will the project ensure that conditions are made for a relocation of settlements with the least possible conflicts?

Confer also question 5 above as regards the construction of dams.


· Will the project adequately consider the development of institutions, water user organisations and other types of co-ordination between the local population (users: households, farmers, industry) and local and central authorities to achieve an environmentally sound management of the water resources?

· What are the possibilities for the project to become a part of an integrated water resources management plant?