India nationals: Wetland Water Quality Management and Environment Safeguards Specialist

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

India 🇮🇳

Expertise: Wetland Water Quality Management and Environment Safeguards
Expertise Group: Biological Sciences & Ecology

Consultant: Source National
TOR Keywords: Wetland Water Quality, Environment Safeguards

Objective and Purpose of the Assignment

  1. Wetlands are the ecosystems where the water table is at or near the surface of the land or where the
    land is covered by water. The wetland ecosystem is a source of water, water purifiers, habitats for
    migratory birds, flora and fauna, source of food and places for recreation and tourism. Wetlands also
    provide hydrological regulation services such as flood mitigation, groundwater recharge, river flow
    regulation, erosion control, etc. As per the national wetland inventory assessment 2007-2011, around
    4.63% of the India’s geographical areas is under wetlands, and the state of Assam has 9th largest
    geographical areas under wetlands. Assam’s total wetland area estimated is 764,372 ha that is around
    9.74% of the geographic area. These waterbodies form the creation of two important river systems, the
    Brahmaputa and the Barak.
  2. Geophysical transformation of wetlands develops due to natural processes and human-induced
    activities. The most well-known factors that affect wetlands and degrade wetland ecology are: (i) water
    logging due to flood, construction of embarkment and roads; (ii) expansion of human settlements and
    agricultural activities including excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides; (iii) soil
    erosion and increased sediment load due to deforestation on the banks of wetlands, changing water
    quality of wetlands which causes changes in biodiversity pattern of wetlands; (iv) inflow of large
    quantities of pollutants; and (v) unsustainable mining of riverbed. Field observations report that
    there is a general decrease of water level and different ecological elements from the wetlands during
    winter seasons, and this results to transformation of the shallow wetlands into grazing land. A lack of
    effective management policies and plans is also a threat to wetland conservation.
  3. According to district-level climate projects made across Assam, temperatures continue to rise and may
    increase by 1.7-2.0oC with reference to baseline. Only the western part of the State will experience a
    slight decrease in rainfall, but the rest of Assam is projected to have an increase in rainfall. There
    is likely to be increase in extreme rainfall event by 5 to 38% with reference to baseline. Drought’s
    weeks are going to rise, with Southern districts showing a marginal reduction in drought weeks but rest
    of the districts show an increase by more than 75% with reference to baseline. As regards floods, it
    will be going to rise by more than 25% in the southern parts of Assam. A threat such as a climate change
    calls for timely and coherent policy response and action plan to reduce vulnerability and build
    resilience against climate impacts.
  4. ADB is supporting the Department of Fisheries ( DOF), Government of Assam for the proposed
    Sustainable Wetland and Integrated Fisheries Transformation (SWIFT) Project (PPR ID – 11137) . DOF’s
    initial proposal aims to achieve (i) restoring wetlands as the natural habitat for indigenous fish
    species, (ii) remote sensing of wetlands and its surroundings, (iii) new sources of livelihood, and (iv)
    capacity building and skill development for community/ cooperative; and ADB loan of $164.6 million has
    been sought.
  5. ADB fielded a consultation mission during (17January – 10 February 2023) to (i) agree on the project
    rationale; (ii) discuss the state’s proposed project scope and financing and identify areas for
    improvement; (iii) discuss the preliminary project implementation structure; and (iv) discuss and agree
    on the processing timeline and next steps. ADB and DOF agreed on the tentative outcome of the project
    as “ water quality of and fishery productivity in project-financed beels improved”. The project shall
    have following outputs and activities:

(i) Output 1: Institutional and policy framework for wetland assessment, monitoring and management
developed and operated. To achieve integrated wetland ecosystem management, which balances between
biodiversity and aquatic ecosystem conservation, and sustainable utilization, this output will (i)
monitor and update wetland health in terms of area, hydrology and catchments, biodiversity; (ii)
demarcate wetlands maps and announce/declare wetlands by concerned regulatory authority; (iii) prepare
the draft integrated wetlands management plan for approval by CWLW; (iv) identify key stakeholders and
raise awareness of stakeholders; (v) enhance capacity of government officials, relevant agencies and
stakeholder leaders and equip them with necessary facilities and advanced technologies. The output will
also focus on improving climate resilience of the wetland management.
(ii) Output 2: Wetland ecosystem restoration and conservation actions implemented. This output will
support improving capacity of the communities, and fisheries department in sustainable management of
wetland resources and biodiversity management to achieve improved wetland health. This output comprises
two elements: (i) state government led actions; and (ii) community-driven sustainable wetland
(iii) Output 3: Community-based sustainable use of wetlands for livelihood development. This output is
mainly to support indigenous freshwater fisheries. It will finance: (i) formation and strengthening of
fishery co-operatives for sustainable production and management; (ii) construction and operation of
facilities and infrastructure for indigenous freshwater fish production and marketing; and (iii)
investment in other income generating activities.

  1. Project target areas. The total proposed target wetlands areas are approximately 8,000 ha. Out of
    8,000 ha, about 3,000 ha (107 wetlands) in 18 districts are already identified by DOF, and the remaining
    5,000 ha are to be identified through project design. The list of already identified wetlands in 18
  2. In the consultation mission, it was noted that DOF will require support to prepare the feasibility
    studies and detailed project report that meets ADB’s requirements and to conduct due diligence of the
    proposed project, through a team of experts in hydrology, wetland quality management, sustainable
    fishery and aquaculture, structural engineer – water resource planning, community and livelihood
    development (institutional development), climate change assessment, economic and financial analysis,
    financial management, procurement, environment safeguards, social safeguards, and gender.
  3. ADB will initially engage some of the abovementioned consultants to conduct upstream work with
    research for inputs to project concept preparation, utilizing an ongoing technical assistance— TA-9738
    IND: Strengthening Capacity to Design and Implement Water and Rural Infrastructure Facility —as part of
    Output 3 of the TA. The team is expected to prepare a high-impact project with strategic and cross-
    sector development significance and will also assist the executing agency, UTDB, in early-stage
    conceptualization through analytical studies for developing the loan project. The upstream work
    consulting team will comprise of:

(a) Hydrology Specialist ( International , 33 working days, intermittent)
(b) Wetland water quality management and environment safeguards ( National, 66 working days,
(c) Sustainable fishery and aquaculture specialist ( National, 44 working days, intermittent)
(d) Structural engineer / Water resource planning specialist ( National, 44 working days, intermittent)
(e) Community and livelihood development specialist (institutional development) ( National, 44 working
days, intermittent)

Scope of Work

This assignment is for a Wetland water quality management and environment safeguards Specialist to
assist ADB and DOF in reviewing the water quality management and environment safeguards issues of
selected wetlands/beels and provide necessary inputs for preparation of project concept paper,
feasibility studies and detailed project reports. The specialist will support ADB and DOF in preliminary
assessment of wetland water quality and environmental safeguards issues of selected wetlands, prepare
the framework for primary and secondary data collection for to support preparation of feasibility
studies (FS)and detailed project reports (DPRs) for wetland restoration and livelihood activities. The
expert will assist ADB in review of the DPRs, FS and other documents prepared by DOF and other
consultants. The expert is expected to work together with other experts – Hydrology, Sustainable fishery
and aquaculture specialist , Structural engineer / Water resource planning specialist, Community and
livelihood development (institutional development).

Detailed Tasks and/or Expected Output

The expert/specialist will:
o Conduct a landscape (watershed) review including the landuse/human activities and ecological issues
within the catchment that affect the integrity and biodiversity of the selected wetlands/beels
o Document and review all available reports and data on water resource assessments in the project area;
o Review implementation of the regulatory compliances of the central and state legislation, rules and
regulations ( for example Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017 and related documents).
o Review policies and projects in the entire area and propose necessary reforms, if required.
o Review the existing integrated plans for wise use and other existing literature.
o Based on the above review, prepare a background paper on key wetland water quality management and
environmental safeguards related issues for the selected wetland/beels, to guide the project teams for
way forward.
o prepare the framework for primary and secondary data collection for water quality to support
preparation of feasibility studies (FS)and detailed project reports (DPRs) for wetland restoration and
livelihood activities.
o Lead and coordinate environmental due diligence activities and collaborate with the executing agency
(EA), and the other stakeholders to ensure timely delivery of the outputs;
o Prepare the safeguard systems assessment and provide initial environmental safeguard categorization
for project concept paper;
o After initial assessment prepare work plan and terms of reference for the consultant to be engaged by
EA for project ADB readiness compliance;
o With the other specialists, assist the EA and ADB in preparing the Environment Assessment Review
Framework (EARF) for the project;
o Review the detailed designs of proposed subprojects to ensure compliance ADB’s requirements on
environment safeguards and preparation and prepare initial environmental examination (IEE) or
environmental impact assessment (EIA) documents as required.;
o The assessment of program safeguards system will include an assessment of the likely positive and
negative environmental, involuntary resettlement, and indigenous peoples impacts and risks;
o Conduct a diagnostic assessment, outlining the methodology adopted to ensure that measures for
avoiding or mitigation of the adverse impacts have been identified and assessed, including a review of
the relevant national legislative and regulatory framework against ADB’s Safeguard Policy Statement
(SPS), 2009.
o Assess the existing good practices to be adopted by the project that are consistent with the
environment-related safeguard principles.
o Prepare safeguard-related program actions to address significant gaps and identified weaknesses.
Describe the key measures recommended to strengthen the safeguard systems, such as (i) specific
mitigation measures to address particular impacts; (ii) institutional arrangement, cost estimates,
budget, and time frame for implementing the actions; and (iii) measures for information disclosure,
consultation, and grievance redress during implementation;
o Based on the assessment, the consultant will develop a comprehensive safeguard management system for
the project to address the gaps and recommend measures for using the national environmental regulations
in accordance with the principles of ADB’s SPS. The safeguard management system will consist of a
screening checklist for potential environmental impacts which may affect the program design and
recommended necessary measures and actions for mitigation, with clear results and monitoring mechanisms;
o Preliminary design guidance on water quality management of wetlands, based on current global best
practices and innovations.
o Review feasibility studies, detailed project reports and other relevant documents.
o provide support in design and estimate cost of subprojects; and
o Support team members in interconnected tasks to help ADB and DOF prepare project concept paper,
feasibility studies, detailed project reports etc.

The consultant will work for 6 months with 66 days of intermittent inputs starting from 1 April 2023
(expected commencement) in consultation with DOF, under the guidance ADB’s project team comprising
Senior Specialist, SAER (project lead); and Associate Project Officer (Infrastructure), INRM (country

The consultant will present (i) a detailed work plan in the first week of the assignment that indicates
dates for field visits, who to meet for discussions and how to obtain relevant data ; (ii) an interim
report and presentation before and during ADB’s reconnaissance mission expected in Jul-Aug2023; and
(iii) a final report at the end of the assignment. The consultant is expected to travel to Assam, India
and the project site twice—the first in second quarter 2023 and the next during the reconnaissance
mission (expected in Jul-Aug 2023).

Minimum Qualification Requirements

The specialist will preferably have a Masters degree in environmental sciences or equivalent as required
and 10 years of relevant experience in working in the field of water quality management, environmental
impact assessment and the preparation of environment management plans. Experience in the Natural
resources and climate change sector projects including wetlands conservation and management will be
appreciated. The specialist will have demonstrated experience and understanding of ADB standards and
guidelines with experience in producing the ADB reports. Experience in working with international
organizations/ agencies, especially with ADB or other multilateral development agencies. Preference will
be given to the specialists with regional working experience particularly in India and Assam.

Minimum General Experience: 10 Years
Minimum Specific Experience (relevant to assignment): 10 Years





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