El Nuevo Diario: HKND Will Refine Canal's Studies
The project advisor confirmed that the project is viable and ensures they are using specialized aircrafts and cutting edge technology for environmental impact studies.
By: Leyla Jarquín
The concessionaire firm of the Interoceanic Canal, HKND, will make further studies on topography, geology, hydrology and archeology of the route, aiming to produce a final reference design for the construction of the project, said the Chief Project Advisor, Bill Wild.
“A mega-project of this magnitude requires serious studies. For now, we are at a very important stage which is the approval of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment conducted by the most prestigious company in the world, Environmental Resource Management (ERM) of England, whose recommendations confirm that mitigation for environmental and social impacts is possible, therefore the project is fully and certainly viable” he states.
Wild also said, "this reference design will likely have slight difference to the conceptual design and we need to verify again the seismic, water balance and salt intrusion effects to the Canal before submitting the design to the Government for construction permits prior to the commencement of the major work."
According to Wild, the process will take place after the approval of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) as well as geological and topographical aerial surveys that began in mid-September, which covers the 276 kilometers of the Canal route.
Regarding the aerial surveys, the representative of HKND said that they are using two types of specialized airplanes and cutting edge technology to ensure the accuracy of the research. "The method of airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is able to penetrate the dense forests and clearly detect the actual topography and surface water," he explained.
With good expectations
Wild expressed his satisfaction with public consultations held by the Government on the Interoceanic Canal Project involving different sectors of the society, because although the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation states that for projects of this size, at least seven public consultation meetings should be held, till this date the Government has already carried out nine consultation meetings.
Moreover, he reaffirms that they won't start the construction "if we cannot guarantee that the final net impact on the environment and society is positive, after implementing the mitigation works recommended by the studies". In this regard, he noted that the dams to be built in the eastern part of the Canal will form two artificial lakes that preserve water resources which currently are being lost in the Caribbean Sea.
“We should remember that nowadays in Nicaragua water resources are not being preserved; this will be the first time and these new additional water resources can also be used for the sustainable development of the country and the region, and to alleviate local droughts caused by El Niño and by the global climate change, as the country is experiencing this year, "he said.
At the end, he showed gratitude to the 77.7% of Nicaraguans who support the project and who wish that this dream of a century will come true.
"Nicaraguans are noble and hard-working people, who want the best for their children and grandchildren, the Nicaragua Grand Canal is an opportunity to accelerate economic growth and social welfare, which is desired by everyone in this great nation," concluded Mr. Wild.