Environmental impact assessment using a utility-based recursive evidential reasoning approach for structural flood mitigation measures in Metro Manila, Philippines



An evidential reasoning approach was used in the EIA of flood control projects.

New utility functions for the evidential reasoning approach were developed.

The new utility functions are based on the concept of “gains and losses”.

The overall environmental impact of each SFMM was effectively characterized.

The new EIA approach provides highly rational and more meaningful results.



In recent years, the practice of environmental impact assessment (EIA) has created significant awareness on the role of environmentally sound projects in sustainable development. In view of the recent studies on the effects of climate change, the Philippine government has given high priority to the construction of flood control structures to alleviate the destructive effects of unmitigated floods, especially in highly urbanized areas like Metro Manila. EIA thus, should be carefully and effectively carried out to maximize or optimize the potential benefits that can be derived from structural flood mitigation measures (SFMMs). A utility-based environmental assessment approach may significantly aid flood managers and decision-makers in planning for effective and environmentally sound SFMM projects. This study proposes a utility-based assessment approach using the rapid impact assessment matrix (RIAM) technique, coupled with the evidential reasoning approach, to rationally and systematically evaluate the ecological and socio-economic impacts of 4 planned SFMM projects (i.e. 2 river channel improvements and 2 new open channels) in Metro Manila. Results show that the overall environmental effects of each of the planned SFMM projects are positive, which indicate that the utility of the positive impacts would generally outweigh the negative impacts. The results also imply that the planned river channel improvements will yield higher environmental benefits over the planned open channels. This study was able to present a clear and rational approach in the examination of overall environmental effects of SFMMs, which provides valuable insights that can be used by decision-makers and policy makers to improve the EIA practice and evaluation of projects in the Philippines.

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