The proposed Awali-Beirut Water Conveyor Project has the potential to create a range of impacts on the environment. These potential impacts can be both positive (beneficial) and negative (adverse) depending on the resources and receptors involved along with other parameters such as geographical scope (magnitude and extent), temporal scope (duration) and reversibility.
It is anticipated that this project will have long-term term positive impacts on the economic sector, employment (national scale), infrastructure and services, water supply and sanitation, environment and public heath sectors among others.
The purpose of this chapter is to predict social and environmental impacts to the extent possible and to propose preventive measures which will be incorporated in the Project design, construction and operation. Actions will also be undertaken in order to mitigate, if not eliminate, the potential adverse impacts of the Project to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP), and to meet international and national Lebanese standards and regulations.
The type/nature (positive, negative, direct, indirect), magnitude, timing (during design, construction, operation), duration (short term/temporary, long term/permanent) and significance of impacts will be assessed in this section. The evaluation approach implemented in this study is a Receptor-Specific Analysis approach addressing the various sources of impacts from the project’s different implementation phases (construction, operation). These phases include tunneling activities, construction and site preparation, trenching, backfilling, vehicular and equipment transport, temporary access routes and base camps, excavation activities, hydro-testing, commissioning and operation.
The analysis covers all potential fields of impacts and/ potential receptors:
Ambient Air Quality;
Soil, Landscape and Visual Amenity;
Water Resources (Groundwater & Surface Water bodies);
The general evaluation process will include the following stages:
Step 1: Identification of project related activities (sources) and environmental aspects;
Step 2: Identification of potential impacts to the environment (physical, biological, human, cultural);
Step 3: Evaluation and assessment of the related unmitigated impact significance;
Step 4: Identification of Best Practicable Environmental Options (BPEO); and
Step 5: Re-evaluation and assessment of the mitigated impact significance.
Impact Evaluation Pre-Screening Level
The screening methodology that is adopted for the purpose of this EIA comprises a preliminary screening process followed by a more detailed secondary screening process.
The key issues identified were further investigated and evaluated based on planned project operations including proposed activities, time duration, national Lebanese regulations and the social and environmental baseline collected during the field surveys.
Given the data gathered by ELARD, the team channeled the results to a secondary screening process.
Impact Evaluation Secondary Screening Level
The secondary screening level aims at analytically screening the wide range of possible sources and potential impacts which were previously highlighted. This screening stage further assesses the impacts in terms of their significance, reversibility, likelihood of occurrence and geographical and temporal scopes.
In the secondary screening level, consequence criteria were ranked into six levels of significance listed in Table 7 -56. Then, the likelihood of the occurrence of the impact was rated according to the criteria outlined in Table 7 -57. Based on the level of significance, and likelihood of occurrence, the significant risks (impact severities) are identified.
The assigned impact severity assessment was first considered assuming the absence of project control and mitigation measures. Following investigation and presentation of typical and commonly practiced project mitigations, the impact severities for the mitigated project activities are then presented in Table 7 -58
The assigned impact severity was derived from:
Round table scoring exercise by all team experts;
Results from analysis and calculations, where applicable;
Previous public consultation meetings outcomes; and
Scientific predictions based on experience of every team member in the field of his/her expertise and from outcomes from similar projects conducted abroad or locally.
Short term changes in an ecosystem that are unlikely to be noticeable (i.e. fall within the scope of natural variation). Area of effect is restricted to the immediate vicinity of the source.
Has no discernible effect on the environmental resource as a whole and is likely to go unnoticed by those who already use it.
Negligible impact to a site of social and/or cultural importance.
Minor adverse changes in a VEC. Changes will be noticeable but fall within the range of normal variation and be typically short-lived, with unassisted recovery possible in the near term. However, it is recognized that a low level of impact may remain.
Medium term impact (1-5 yrs) in an area that does not encompass a VEC or whose impact is highly localized within a VEC.
Long term impact over a discrete, small area which does not support a VEC.
May be noticed but does not affect the livelihood of those utilizing a resource.
Minor impact to a site of social and/or cultural importance.
Moderate adverse changes in a VEC or area that supports a VEC population. Changes may exceed the range of natural variation though potential for recovery within a few years without intervention is good.
Area of effect encompasses an area that supports either a moderate or minor proportion of a VEC population or ecosystem.
Long term (> 5 yrs) changes over an area which is not considered to be a VEC.
Has a measurable effect on the livelihood of those using a resource over a period of weeks.
Moderate damage to a site of social and/or cultural importance.
Long term or continuous impact resulting in substantial adverse changes in a VEC, well outside the range of natural variation. Unassisted recovery could be protracted.
Area of effect is extensive and/or encompasses an area that supports a statistically significant proportion of a VEC population or ecosystem.
Has a measurable effect on the livelihood of those using a resource over a period of months.
Significant damage / impact to a site of social and/or cultural importance.
A single table “Environmental Impact Severity Matrix” was developed to review all identified impacts during each phase of the Project after having determined the potential level of significance for each impact while using the screening procedure identified above. Table 7 -58 illustrates the impact assessment severity matrix.