This study aims to improve the current practice of EIA by introducing additional considerations for environmental impact assessment (EIA) under the framework of Integrated Coastal Management (ICM). Various EIA reports on the seawater desalination projects and the UNEP guidance for EIA of desalination were collected for document analysis. Along with in-depth interviews to obtain input from coastal stakeholders, an indicator framework for the impact of seawater desalination plants was thus developed by applying the concept of Integrated Coastal Management (ICM). Unlike the conventional EIA practice which mostly focuses on the direct impacts, the indicator framework under ICM includes direct and indirect impacts from three aspects: environment, economics and social, covering 14 criteria and 43 indicators. Our results showed that the social aspect criteria in our indicator system are mostly absent in the current EIA practice. This study includes recommendations for the improvement of the existing EIA of seawater desalination plants under the concept of ICM. The environmental impacts that are not well addressed or overlooked under conventional EIA regime are discussed herein.

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