The proposed project will be implemented through the Directorate General Agriculture (Water Management), which is part of the Agriculture Department, Government of the Punjab (GoPb), Pakistan. The Agriculture Department is one of the 42 departments that form the governmental set up in the Province. The mission of the Agriculture Department is to maintain “a system aiming to sustain food security and support to national economy, making agriculture cost effective and knowledge based, with emphasis on farmer’s welfare and maintenance of the yield potentials”6. The Department’s objectives comprise: i) ensuring food security; ii) enhancing productivity through better varieties and improved management practices; iii) promoting high value crops, fruits and vegetables; iv) promoting export of high value agricultural products; v) promoting efficient use of water and other inputs; vi) improving soil health; vii) development of culturable waste lands; and viii) ensuring fair returns for the growers in marketing of their produce.7
The Agriculture Department is headed by the Secretary, and comprises five directorates general and four directorates, in addition to several other cells and organizations, including Punjab Seeds Corporation and Punjab Agriculture Research Board. Since the proposed Project involves irrigation activities, it will be managed by the Directorate General Agriculture (Water Management). Further details about the Department are available on its official website (http://www.agripunjab.gov.pk/index.php).
In line with one of the Agriculture Department’s key objectives described in Section 1.3 above, the Project aims to improve the productivity of the irrigation activities in the Province. Improved water productivity will translate into greater agricultural output per unit of water used, and will be achieved through improved physical delivery efficiency, irrigation practices, crop diversification and effective application of inputs. The project’s objectives would contribute to increased agricultural production, employment and incomes, higher living standards and positive environmental outcomes.
The direct beneficiaries of Project would be about 650,000 farm families or about 4.5 million people all over the Punjab Province.
The key components of the Project include: i) installation of high efficiency irrigation systems; ii) strengthening of laser land leveling in private sector; iii) improvement of water courses in canal command and non-canal command areas; and iv) adoption and promotion of modern irrigation technologies. Details of these components are further discussed later in the document.
The various aspects of the present study, including its need and objectives, its scope, the methodology employed while conducting it are described in the following sections.
a.5.1Need of the Study
The Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 (PEPA 1997) requires the proponents of every development project in the country to submit either an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) or “where the project is likely to cause an adverse environmental effect,” an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the concerned environmental protection agency (EPA). The IEE/EIA Regulations 2000 issued under the PEPA 1997 provide separate lists for the projects requiring IEE and EIA (The Act and Regulations are further discussed later in the document).
The World Bank Operational Policy 4.01 (OP 4.01) states that “The Bank requires environmental assessment (EA) of projects proposed for Bank financing to help ensure that they are environmentally sound and sustainable, and thus to improve decision making”8.
The present study has been conducted in response to both of the above requirements.
The objectives of the present ESA are to:
To assess the existing environmental and socioeconomic conditions of the project area,
To identify potential impacts of the proposed project on the natural and human environment of the area, to predict and evaluate these impacts, and determine their significance, in light of the technical and regulatory concerns,
To propose appropriate mitigation measures that should be incorporated in the design of the project to minimize if not eliminate the potentially adverse impacts,
To assess the compliance status of the proposed activities with respect to the national environmental legislation and WB’s OPs,
To develop an environmental and social management plan (ESMP) to provide an implementation mechanism for the mitigation measures identified during the study.
The present ESA study covers the following components of the proposed Punjab Irrigated-Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project:
installation of high efficiency irrigation system;
laser land leveling;
improvement of water courses in canal command and non-canal command areas; and
improved irrigation technologies and practices.
These components of the Project will be referred to as the ‘proposed Project’ and the area where these components are located will be referred to as the ‘project area’ in this report. The study addresses the potential environmental and social impacts that may be encountered during the construction and operational phases of the proposed project.
The key steps that were followed while conducting the ESA are briefly described below.
During this phase, key information on the project was collected and reviewed. A ‘long list’ of the potential environmental as well as social issues likely to arise as a result of the project was developed. The stakeholder analysis was also carried out for the consultation to be carried out subsequently.
Stakeholder consultations were carried out during the ESA study. Meetings were held with the institutional stakeholders and key environmental and social issues discussed. Extensive consultations with the grass root stakeholders were carried out during visits to the agricultural farms and fields in various parts of the Province.
During this phase, data was collected and compiled, in order to develop a baseline of the project area’s physical, biological and human environment. For this purpose, both review of secondary sources and field data collection were carried out.
The secondary resources that were consulted included reports of the studies carried out earlier, published books and data, and relevant websites. With the help of these resources a generic profile of the entire project area was developed.
During the impact assessment, the environmental, socioeconomic, and project information collected in previous steps was used to determine the potential impacts of the proposed project. Subsequent to this, the potential impacts were characterized in order to determine their significance. Mitigation measures were identified where required to minimize the significant environmental impacts. A management framework was also developed in the form of an ESMP for the implementation of the mitigation measures identified during the study.
Report compilation was the last step of the study. The report includes a brief description of the proposed project, a review of environmental legislation and policy framework relevant to the project, a description of baseline environmental and socioeconomic conditions in the project area, and potential project impacts and mitigation measures. (Complete structure of the report is provided in Section 1.6 below.)
The ESA team consisted of environmental and socioeconomic experts having considerable experience in their respective field of expertise. These included Mohammad Omar Khalid (team leader and environment specialist), Sitara Khan (social specialist), Chaudhry Irshad Ahmad (agriculture specialist), and Maqsood Ahmed (irrigation specialist).