Cumulative Impact Assessments

Cumulative impacts are changes to the environment that caused by a project (action) in combination with other past, present and future projects (human actions). A Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) is the process of (a) analyzing the potential impacts and risks of proposed developments in the context of the potential effects of other human activities and natural environmental and social external drivers on the chosen valued environmental and social component over time, and (b) proposing concrete measures to avoid, reduce, or mitigate such cumulative impacts and risk to the extent possible. The key analytical task is to discern how the potential impacts of a proposed development might combine, cumulatively, with the potential impacts of other human activities and other natural stressors such as droughts or extreme climatic events. The CIA process helps promote more sustainable infrastructure development by building upon all relevant projects within an area to address both negative impacts and also help maximize positive impacts.