Cooperation on Biodiversity Conservation in Sunshine-Moon River Basin Project Background Story

pointdepressedMechanics

Feb 22, 2014 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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1

Cooperation on
Biodiversity

Conservation

in
Sunshine
-
Moon

River Basin

Project Background Story


The
Sunshine
-
Moon

River Basin

(S
M
RB) is a transboundary basin between
two
neighbor’s countries that covers approximately 7,000
km
2
.

The
Sunshine

River

(120 km
)
originates
in
Country A
, and its last 20 km flows through
Country B

before entering the
Mushroom

Sea
.
The
Moon

River

(80

km) is located mostly in
Country A

and is
hydraulically and naturally partially linked to the
Sunshine

River
,
being part of the same
hydro
-
geological basin
.

Taken together, these two rivers constitute most of the
Mushroom

watershed of
Country A

and
part of the
Mushroom

watershed of
Country B
.
Both rivers are crucial for
transport, recreation, fisheries, and fishing. They are also used

for drinking water, irrigation, and energy production.





Sunshine

River passing through

Earth
tow
n

in

Country A



The entire valley and delta of the lower
Sunshine

River

from
Earth

municipality

(in
Country A
) to the river’s mouth (in
Country B
) contain the largest and most valuable
remnants of the natural wetlands in the
Mushroom

coast, as evidenced by its designation
as a Ramsar Wetlands site. The wetlands serve a number of functions important to water
resource management including water puri
fication, nutrient reduction, sedimentation
sink, flood management, and prevention of shoreline erosion. They also provide critical
habitats and support local economic activities.





The Flower Town
, on
Moon River

in
Country A




2

The SMRB water resourc
es

play an important part in the economies of both countries and
in the livelihoods of over 400,000 people.

Currently, 40 percent of the 100,000 skilled
labor force is engaged in agricultural activities in the SMRB, with the rest employed by
municipal auth
orities and public enterprises.
Overall pressures on SMRB water resources
and their associated ecosystems include: conversion of wetlands and other critical natural
habitats to agricultural land; illegal land
construction in sensitive
or protected areas;
e
xcessive illegal hunting and fishing in the wetlands; unsustainable agriculture practices
including over
-
use of pesticides and lack of crop rotation; interference with the
hydrological regime of the SMRB for agricultural, municipal, industrial and hydropow
er
use of water; inadequate flood control; water pollution from point (e.g. municipal and
industrial wastewaters, solid waste dump sites) and non
-
point (agricultural) sources; and
lack of public awareness and involvement.


The cumulative negative impacts
of these pressures include a documented loss of habitat
and biodiversity; land degradation and reduced agricultural productivity; sedimentation
and erosion leading to reduced efficiency of reservoir operations; and salt water intrusion.
Due to problems cau
sed by sea (salt water intrusion
) in
Sunshine

Delta, accumulation of
salt in the soil results in its degradation, which in turn results in lower crop yields

(below
potential yields)

and erosion of riverbeds and land
.


Additionally, competing demands for
water resources in the SMRB, including those for
energy production, are not balanced due to lack of a comprehensive and coordinated
strategy for water use on the national or international

level
. Great water capacities, and
the mechanisms to exploit these c
apacities are key to the energy production of the upper
and middle parts of the
Sunshine

and
Moon

rivers; this area boasts five hydroelectric
power plants on the
Sunshine

and two on
Moon
, with accompanying reservoirs. This
infrastructure serves to control
the water level in the downstream area of the river basin,
and, as a consequence, the water levels in the lower parts of the rivers drop significantly
in the summer period, despite the compensatory volumes supplied by the discharge at
dams. It is of criti
cal importance to coordinate the operation of the infrastructure on the
rivers of
Sunshine
and
Moon
, such as hydroelectric power plants and accompanying
reservoirs, to prevent potential negative effects on the environment and ecosystem
activities.


During
projec
t preparation, a transboundary Environmental A
nalysis was conducted to
assess land and water management, biodiversity, and the social and economic conditions
in the
SM
RB. It identified the following environmental areas relating to
SM
RB water
resourc
es that need improvement:
(i)

Industrial and municipal wastewater management
and treatment,
(ii)
Protection of sensitive areas

because of salt intrusion
,
(iii)
Environmental flows and w
ater quality
,
(
i
v)
River regulation, and
(v
)
Cooperation among
stakehol
ders on addressing the conflicting and competing needs for water in the basin.


To help the two governments, the World Bank
in collaboration with the respective
countries governments
is supporting
a project to address the threats to this unique area

in
bot
h countries
. The project consists of four components:




C
omponent

1

will focus on improving water resource management capacity in
both countries and to strengthen the existing transboundary mechanisms

3

(institutional, technical, and regulatory) and to provid
e tools for effective water
resource management including development of river basin management plan.



C
omponent

2

will finance water infrastructure improvements in both countries,
including (i) rehabilitation of gates, weirs, river banks, and irrigation
structures,

including
rehabilitation of small
-
scale water management infrastructures, such as
gates, weirs,
wooden irrigation wheels, and
river banks
; (ii
) Improved operation
of reservoirs,
Hydroelectric Power Plants (
HPPs
)
, and dams

(e.g., finance dam
safety monitoring equipment
for

one dam in SMRB); (iii)

improved wetlands
management
(e.g., improvements in sites, services, and management tools in
Red
Nature Park

in
Country A

and in two

protected areas in
Country B
,

and a pilot
schem
e to address saline water intrusion in
Sunshine

Delta

in
Country B
.



C
omponent

3

aims to reduce water pollution, mainly nutrients, of the
SMRB

through high
-
priority investments by low
-
cost, appropriate wastewater technology
improvements in three municipalit
ies

in
Country A
,

small improvements of
wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure in two other municipalities
in
Country B

and one industrial sector

(metallurgic company)

in
Country A
.



C
omponent

4

will ensure civil society participation in the decision
-
making
process for water resource management and to establish an incentive mechanism
for responsible, local
-
level resource management, and to manage project
implementation activities.


The project ha
s been proposed as environmental assessment category B and triggers the
following safeguard policies:
OP/BPs 4.01 on Environmental Assessment
, OP/BP 4.04
on Natural Habitats, OP/BP4.37 on Safety of Dams, and OP/BP7.50 on Projects on
International Waterways
.


As part of project preparation, the Client prepared
site specific
EMPs

t
o address
mitigation measures and monitoring activities of any negative environmental impact of
the known investments
,
prepared as part of the EIA.