024-i. Advisory reviews: EIA for Cartagena tidal inlet
The NCEA issued four advisory reviews of various documents that were prepared for construction of a tidal inlet for a lagoon near Cartagena. These documents included the EIA for the project and its Environmental Monitoring Plan (EMP).
Advisory reports and other documents
27 Jun 1996: Advisory review
19 Nov 1996: Advisory review
03 Jun 1999: Advisory review
13 Dec 1999: Advisory review
The Ciénaga de la Virgen lagoon lies close to the town of Cartagena in Colombia. Wastewater is discharged directly into the lagoon, leading to a considerable decline of water quality in the lagoon in recent years. The self-cleaning capacity of the lagoon has reduced since there is no longer a permanent open channel between the lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. This leads to environmental and health risks. Therefore a 'stabilized tidal inlet' was planned to allow unpolluted sea water to mix with polluted lagoon water. This could reduce pollution to acceptable levels.
The local authority CARDIQUE adopted Terms of Reference (ToR) for an EIA for this project. It submitted the ToR to the Ministry of Transport which would be responsible for construction of the inlet, and the Ministry then appointed a Dutch consultant to undertake the EIA. Dutch ORET funding was made available for this project. The Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation therefore asked the NCEA to review the EIA report, together with CARDIQUE, to support decision-making on the project in both countries.
This joint review was carried out according to CARDIQUE's ToR and an additional checklist prepared by the NCEA. In the review, the overall conclusion was that an impressive amount of information is available in the report, yet there are shortcomings on a number of subjects that are relevant for decision-making:
- The problem analysis does not explicitly describe how the situation will improve after implementation of the project;
- The project setting section does not describe how other plans and projects may influence, or be influenced by, the inlet project;
- There is no overview of alternative solutions to improve the auto-regeneration capacity of the lagoon;
- Part of the project (associated with construction of outlet gates in the Laguna de San Lorenzo) is not sufficiently elaborated in the report;
- A substantial part of the report is based on outcomes of modeling studies, but without referring to reliability of the models;
- A number of impacts were not addressed adequately (e.g. of eutrophication, on the marine environment, of breakwaters construction, and tidal impacts).
The NCEA and CARDIQUE recommended that a supplement be prepared on these issues before decisions are taken on the project. The NCEA also offered its advisory services for reviewing these supplements.
Indeed, the supplementary information was offered to the NCEA and CARDIQUE for review. In this advisory review (the second document on this page), the two bodies concluded that overall, sufficient information was now available to allow environmental considerations to be included in decision-making. On some aspects, however, information was still missing or insufficient. Recommendations were made for attaching a number of conditions to the environmental permit.
After preparations for project implementation had been started, the Ministry of Transport of Colombia asked the NCEA and CARDIQUE to also review the first monitoring report of the project. This first advisory review of the Environmental Monitoring Programme (EMP) concluded a.o.:
- The EMP lacks an analysis of the purposes and approach of monitoring;
- The study area (i.e. area affected by impacts of the works, which can differ per impact aspect) is not indicated in the EMP;
- The relationwhip between the project and the Sewerage Masterplan and other plans are not addressed in the EMP - yet they are closely interlinked;
- Monitoring of several aspects could be strengthened in the EMP, e.g. system functioning, water and sediment quality, and erosion patterns.
Later, the NCEA was asked to undertake a site visit to support CARDIQUE in monitoring the programme and simultaneously gather more information on programme implementation and environmental effects. The NCEA drafted an advisory report (the fourth document on this page) and also discussed its findings with the Ministry of Transport and the Netherlands Embassy. Some main conclusions were:
- Clarity on the institutional setting after project completion has to be provided;
- Timely implementation of the 'marine outfall' project remains very urgent;
Finally the NCEA made detailed observations on the contents and feasibility of the environmental licence and the construction permit. Specific advice was provided on the results of a monitoring campaign on water quality and the institutional capacity of CARDIQUE.
Members of the working group
|mr J.D.G. van Duijne|
|mr T.A. Nauta|
|mr A.M. Schakel|
Chairman of the working group: mr J.W. Kroon
Technical secretary: ms I.A. Steinhauer
|Ministrerio de Transporte - Colombia|
|Corporación Autónoma Regional del Canal del Dique -CARDIQUE|
|Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs|
|Started:||06 Mar 1996|
|Completed:||13 Dec 1999|
Last modified: 10 Jul 2018