Pakistan Punjab Irrigated-Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (pipip) Environmental and Social Assessment Directorate General Agriculture (Water Management), Agriculture Department Government of Punjab, Lahore November 2011



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h.Impact Assessment


This Chapter assesses the potential impacts of the proposed project on environment and people. Also provided in the Chapter are the mitigation measures to minimize if not eliminate the potentially negative impacts, in order to ensure that the interventions under the proposed project do not cause environmental and/or social impacts beyond the acceptable level.

h.1Positive Impacts


The positive environmental and social impacts of the project include increased water conservation, enhanced social mobilization (ie, establishment of WUAs), and increased employment opportunities for skilled people. In addition, the project interventions such as high efficiency irrigation techniques will help discontinue usage of sewage water to irrigate crops particularly vegetables in the peri-urban areas – a practice that poses health risks to the population consuming these vegetables.

h.2Environmental Screening


The potentially negative impacts of the project interventions have been screened using the ADB’s Rapid Environmental Assessment Checklist for the irrigation projects as given in Table 7.1 below.

Table 7.: Environmental Screening



Screening Questions

Yes

No

Remarks

A. Project Siting

Is the Project area adjacent to or within any of the following

environmentally sensitive areas?











  • Protected Area




Unlikely

-

No subprojects to be located inside any protected area.

  • Wetland




Unlikely




No subprojects to be located inside any protected wetland.

  • Mangrove




-



No mangroves exist in the Province.

  • Estuarine









No estuaries exist in the Project Area.

Unlikely

-

No subprojects to be located inside any protected area.

  • Special area for protecting biodiversity

Unlikely

-

No subprojects to be located inside any protected area.

B. Potential Environmental Impacts

Will the Project cause…












  • loss of precious ecological values (e.g. result of encroachment into forests/swamplands or historical/cultural buildings/areas, disruption of hydrology of natural waterways, regional flooding, and drainage hazards)?

Unlikely

-

Most of the subprojects will be located in cultivation fields. Only some interventions could be located in uncultivated areas. No subprojects will be located at any protected archeological, cultural, or religious sites.

  • conflicts in water supply rights and related social conflicts?

Unlikely

-

The project interventions will not change the existing water rights. Formulation of Water User Associations (WUAs) will address any possible conflicts.

  • impediments to movements of people and animals?

Unlikely

-

Most of the subprojects will be located in cultivation fields. The water course improvements include construction of culverts at appropriate locations.

  • potential ecological problems due to increased soil erosion and siltation, leading to decreased stream capacity?

Unlikely / possibly

-

The water course improvement works will decrease soil erosion.

Appropriate mitigation measures have been included in project interventions.



  • Insufficient drainage leading to salinity intrusion?

Unlikely

-

The project interventions are unlikely to affect the drainage pattern.

Unlikely

-

The project interventions will promote judicious use and hence conservation of irrigation water, thus reducing the need of ground water pumping. The water course lining may reduce groundwater recharge, but this lining will be minimized in the saline groundwater zone.

Unlikely / possibly.

-

The high efficiency irrigation schemes under the project will generally result in reduced and judicious use of chemical inputs. The chemical inputs are generally applied direcltly to the plant root zone, thus reducing the possibility and extent of soil and water contamination. Awareness raising has nonetheless been included in the apacity building component of the Project.

  • dislocation or involuntary resettlement of people?

Unlikely

-

Most of the project interventions will be located in cultivation fields. Only in rare cases, uncultivated land will be brought under cultivation. Appropriate control measures have been included to ensure that no resettlement of people takes place.

  • disproportionate impacts on the poor, women and children, Indigenous Peoples or other vulnerable groups?

Unlikely

-

The project will generally benefit the land owners and growers, however, these interventions are unlikely to negatively affect vulnerable groups such as poor, women and children. No indigenous people are known to exist in the Province.

  • potential social conflicts arising from land tenure and land use issues?

Unlikely

-

The project benefits are unlikely to change the existing land tenure or land use rights. Formulation of WUAs is likely to address any possible conflicts.

  • soil erosion before compaction and lining of canals?

Unlikely / possibly

-

Lining of water courses will generally reduce the soil erosion. Most of the interventions will be located in plain areas, thus minimizing the possibility of soil erosion. Appropriate mitigation measures have been included in the water course improvement and other components to control any soil erosion.

  • noise from construction equipment?

Unlikely

-

The noise during the project interventions will primarily be generated by tractors (laser land leveling), and small trucks (material hauling). These vehicles will essentially operate in cultivation fields, during the day time, where such machinery is routinely used. Hence the noise generation from the project intervention is unlikely to cause any significant impact.

  • dust during construction?

Possibly

-

Some minor dust emissions are likely to be caused by the construction activities, however these will take place within the cultivation fields where such dust emissions are quite routine.

  • Water logging and soil salinization due to inadequate drainage and farm management?

Unlikely

-

The project interventions aim to conserve irrigation water and discourage over-irrigation. Hence water logging and salinization are not likely to take place.

Soil slinization cuased by high efficiency irrigation may be controlled by flood irrigating the field on occasional basis.



  • leaching of soil nutrients and changes in soil characteristics due to excessive application of irrigation water?

Unlikely

-

The project aims to conserve water and discourage over-irrigation. Hence leaching of soil nutrients and soil degradation are not likely to take place.

  • reduction of downstream water supply during peak seasons?

Unlikely

-

The project interventions aim to conserve irrigation water and discourage over-irrigation. Hence the project is unlikely to negatively affect other water users (other water users are likely to benefit from the project with increased water availability).

  • soil pollution, polluted farm runoff and groundwater, and public health risks due to excessive application of fertilizers and pesticides?

Possibly

-

The high efficiency irrigation techniques under the project need smaller quantities of chemical inputs which are applied directly to plant root zone, thus reducing the resultant soil and runoff contamination. Appropriate awareness raising and capacity building initiatives have nonethelees been included in the project design to address the potential impacts.

  • soil erosion (furrow, surface)?

Unlikely

-

The project interventions (land leveling, high efficiency irrigation techniques, and water course improvement) will reduce and forestall soil erosion, usually associated with over-irrigation.

  • scouring of canals?

Unlikely

-

The water course improvement component will in fact arrest any previous scouring.

  • clogging of canals by sediments?

Unlikely

-

The water course improvement component will arrest sedimentation in the water courses.

  • clogging of canals by weeds?

Unlikely

-

The water course improvement component will in fact arrest any clogging of the water courses.

  • seawater intrusion into downstream freshwater systems?

-



No sea front exists in the Province.

  • introduction of increase in incidence of waterborne or water related diseases?

Unlikely to possibly

-

The project interventions aim to conserve water and discourage over-irrigation. Therefore these interventions are likely to decrease waterborne or water-related diseases. The capacity building component of the project will address this aspect as well.

  • dangers to a safe and healthy working environment due to physical, chemical and biological hazards during project construction and operation?

Unlikely to possibly

-

The physical hazards associated with the project are same as the other cultivation activities. The biological and chemical hazards are associated with the injudicious and unsafe use/handling of chemical inputs. The project interventions are likely to reduce the need of these inputs. The capacity building component of the project will nonetheless address these aspects.

  • large population influx during project construction and operation that causes increased burden on social infrastructure and services (such as water supply and sanitation systems)?

Unlikely

-

The individual subprojects are quite small and localized, with no possibility or need of any population influx during construction or operation.

  • social conflicts if workers from other regions or countries are hired?

Unlikely

-

The individual subprojects are quite small and localized, with little possibility or need of workers from other regions. The contractors will be selected by WUAs.

  • risks to community health and safety due to the transport, storage, and use and/or disposal of materials such as explosives, fuel and other chemicals during construction and operation?

Unlikely to possibly




The risk to community’s health and safety is associated with the handling of chemical inputs (pesticides and fertilizers) mentioned earlier as well. The capacity building component of the project will address these aspects. The capacity building component will also address avoidance and cure of water borne and water related diseases, particularly malaria and dengue.

  • community safety risks due to both accidental and natural hazards, especially where the structural elements or components of the project (e.g., irrigation dams) are accessible to members of the affected community or where their failure could result in injury to the community throughout project construction, operation and decommissioning?

Unlikely

-

The project interventions do not include any structures (such as dams and dikes) which could pose hazard to the local community through accidents or natural disasters.
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