HKND Presents Nicaragua Grand Canal Project to the International Engineering Community at the XV Congress of Civil Engineering
On 9 September 2016, Pang Kwok Wai, Executive Vice President of HKND Group, and Telemaco Talavera, spokesperson of the Nicaragua Grand Canal Commission, participated in the XV Congress of Civil Engineering held in San Jose, Costa Rica. They made a presentation of the Canal Project to experts and representatives from companies and organizations in the civil engineering field from 18 countries from Latin American, and from US, Canada, Spain and Turkey, among others.
Telemaco Talavera highlighted that the Grand Canal Project is of great significance to Nicaragua, Central America and the whole world. He said that this event offered an ideal opportunity for the international engineering community to learn about Nicaragua’s effort to promote the Canal Project and propel regional development, as well as the abundant business opportunities in this country.
On the other hand, Pang shared with those present the engineering and technical aspects, as well as the subcontracting and financing mechanisms of the Project. Besides, HKND’s Executive Vice President emphasized the responsibilities shouldered and efforts made by HKND in terms of respecting human rights, preserving native Nicaraguan and indigenous culture, and protecting the environment.
Net Positive Environmental Impact
Pang stated that the protection of the environment and sustainable development of the Project are among the key commitments of the company. HKND Group is committed to achieving Net Positive Environmental and Social Impact, which means that the unavoidable negative impacts on the environment will be more than balanced and compensated by the positive environmental and social benefits.
Furthermore, the Canal Project represents an opportunity to stop and reverse the deterioration of the forests in Nicaragua and Lake Nicaragua. An example of this is that the waterway will protect the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve from further encroachment to exploit the forest, since the Canal will function as a natural barrier to protect it. Also, the Project will contribute to the preservation of the Tule River safeguarding the San Miguelito Wetlands, which have been heavily degraded.
Lake Nicaragua is deteriorating without the Canal
Soil erosion, increasing levels of sedimentation, and water usages for human consumption and economic activities are causing the continuous decrease of water availability and the deterioration of water quality of Lake Nicaragua, the largest freshwater lake in Central America. “Climate change will impact the Lake further without the Canal,” said Pang. “There will be no net use of Lake Nicaragua water, since a reservoir will be built on the east of the country to provide abundant water supply to help offset the water loss caused by climate change. This is because surplus water from Punta Gorda watershed on the east side that currently flows into the Caribbean would be diverted westward into Lake Nicaragua via the Canal,” explained Pang.
According to Pang, with the Canal, the Lake water levels can be maintained and will be able to reflect current levels of fluctuations, therefore achieving the sustainable development of this precious water body.
As per the concerns over the possible salt intrusion into the Lake once Canal is put into operation, Pang highlighted that the Canal design will incorporate the latest technologies and existing experience to prevent the risk of salinization. Besides, HKND will also look for optimal construction schemes so as to minimize disturbance to water during construction.
Pang also stressed that the Canal Project is expected to tackle the problems of ever deteriorating environment and poverty. If people just sit back, the excessive deforestation trend will continue and the environment will be further damaged beyond repair. Meanwhile, local people will remain to be trapped in poverty and lack of livelihood opportunities.
Currently, HKND Group is carrying out the works in strict accordance with the recommendations made in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) undertaken by the British company Environmental Resources Management (ERM), which include a complete set of 26 environmental management plans for the Canal route.
The Canal Project calls for international engagement
Pang also highlighted that being one of the largest civil engineering works in the world, the Canal would need international engagement and participation. “HKND is just a carrier of money and technology from all parts of the world to build the Grand Canal,” said Pang, “we are aware that the Project will require the know-how and expertise of many countries and in that sense HKND welcomes companies to invest and people to take part in building the Canal and make history together.”
Civil engineering experts participating in the Congress expressed strong interest in the Canal Project to
Pang Kwok Wai (third from left) and Telemaco Talavera (second from right)
Photograph: HKND Group
The Nicaragua Grand Canal aroused enthusiastic responses at the Congress. Experts, engineers and companies from countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica and Colombia expressed strong interest in the Project.
The inauguration of the XV Congress of Civil Engineering was presided over by Luis Guillermo Solis, President of Costa Rica.