Name: Development of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposed Irrigation Schemes in Honde Valley Zimbabwe 
Year: 2011-2012
Client: World Vision Zimbabwe
Country: Zimbabwe
Background: World Vision Zimbabwe through partnership with USAID was operating a program, titled RSAPZ, in the Honde Valley region of Zimbabwe. The project aimed to revitalize smallholder agriculture production in Honde Valley through increased financial viability of commercially-oriented farmers and 1 700 identified coffee farmers who had sustained significant losses in the subsequent years. Within this program, World Vision Zimbabwe had an irrigation scheme component, aimed at assisting farmers with gravity fed irrigation in order to improve agricultural output. The program was started in the absence of a full Environmental Impact Assessment and as a result, in order to proceed with this program, World Vision required that a full Environmental Impact Assessment of the project be carried out so that they could adequately conceptualise and plan for likely environmental impacts.
Objectives: The aim of the EIA was carried out in order to document, analyse and assess the likely environmental impacts that may come about as a result of the activities of a gravity fed irrigation scheme in the Honde Valley area. The EIA took into consideration direct or indirect impacts on human beings, flora and fauna, land, water, air, climate and landscape and the interaction between these.

Specifically, the EIA focused on the following areas of concern:

  • Increased soil salinity
  • Alterations to hydrology and watersheds
  • Increased erosion and sedimentation
  • Threats to human health
  • Damage to water quality for all users
  • Damage to sensitive ecosystems, such as rivers, wetlands and coastal estuaries
  • Disruption of local socioeconomic arrangements
  • Inefficient use of scarce water resources
  • Cumulative and area-wide effects on environmental quality
Activities: The EIA was carried out by a two member team. The team carried out data collection and analysis in Honde Valley. Following a rigorous baseline review, they carried out a baseline review of a previous EIA conducted in the area to get a better understanding of the environmental setting before the project commenced. This was followed by an impact evaluation identifying the specific direct and indirect impacts of the gravity fed irrigation schemes. Mitigation measures were put in place and an environmental management plan was put in place.