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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA)

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Announcements
EIA in summary The DWA, the Limpopo Provincial Government, various other authorities, environmental and other technical specialists, and stakeholders will work together in the EIA process.

The EIA process will include: Technical consultation with local experts and specialists based in the project area; Consultation with provincial and local government on integrated planning and provincial development strategies;

Several specialist studies during the Impact Assessment Phase to assess the potential negative and positive impacts

arising from a range of issues identified as being relevant; Authority and stakeholder comment at each milestone during the EIA process; Authority decision-making.

Key Activities and Time frames [PDF - 23KB]

Public Participation meetings, July 2007 [PDF - 103KB]

What is an EIA?

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a good planning and decision-making tool. It identifies the potential negative and positive consequences of a proposed project or development at an early stage, and recommends ways to enhance positive impacts and to avoid or reduce or mitigate negative impacts.

The findings of the EIA will also inform the technical and financial investigations. For example, the dam wall, currently estimated at around 36 metres high, could be a few metres lower or higher, depending on the outcome of the social impact assessment that will be conducted during the EIA. The EIA is undertaken in terms of section 24 (5) of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), Act No 107 of 1998.

Public participation is the cornerstone of any EIA. Its key objective is to assist stakeholders to table issues of concern and suggestions for enhanced benefits, and to comment on the findings of the EIA. The EIA regulations require that an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) will be developed in order to explain how to operate and implement environmental protection recommendations from the EIA for construction and operational phases. The provisions of the EMP will become legally binding on the DWAF and on its contractors.

It should be noted that negotiations with landowners for servitudes and compensation do not form part of the public participation process for the EIA. The DWAF will negotiate servitudes or the acquisition of land directly with landowners. The findings of the EIA will assist landowners to determine the extent of local impacts in support of their negotiations.

The public participation process is designed to provide sufficient and accessible information to I&APs in an objective manner to assist them to:

  • Raise issues of concern and make suggestions for alternatives and enhanced benefits;
  • Contribute local knowledge;
  • Verify that their issues have been captured and considered by the technical investigations;
  • Comment on the findings of the impact assessment.

Important considerations for the EIA

Apart from the specialist studies, particular attention will be paid to the following during the EIA:

  • The key principle underpinning South Africa’s Water Policy and National Water Act, namely sustainability, by finding the best balance between economic, social and ecological considerations;
  • The strategic priorities arising from the World Commission on Dams;
  • International considerations i.e. the potential impact on Mozambique;
  • Integrated planning, i.e. Integrated Development Plans, Provincial Growth and Development Strategies and the principles and practice of co-operative governance between the various government departments as well as the private sector;
  • Downstream considerations, particularly as related to biodiversity, tourism and the economics of the Kruger National Park;
  • South Africa’s legal requirements, specifically the National Environmental Management Act, 1998, the Environment Conservation Act, 1989, the National Water Act, 1998, and the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2000, as well as important international treaties, accords and agreements;
  • The responsibilities linked to the Revised SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourse Systems and the new SADC Water Policy that will shortly be signed and ratified by SADC countries;
  • Heritage resources including archaeological sites, graves, and cultural sites.

The EIA will also take due cognisance of the findings and of the various other studies and initiatives outlined in the document. These studies are not required in terms of the Regulations of NEMA, but they inform the EIA on alternatives and help define the assessment framework. This will ensure that the EIA considers the full context of the GLeWaP.

Phases of the EIA

The EIA will be completed in phases, namely the Scoping (July - November 2007) and Impact Assessment (January - May 2008) phases. A Decision-making phase is scheduled for July - August 2008.

 

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