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 Friday, May 14 2021 18:23

Prospects for sustainable water resources management in Ararat Valley  discussed in Yerevan

Prospects for sustainable water resources management in Ararat Valley  discussed in Yerevan

ArmInfo.The artesian basin of the Ararat valley has significant groundwater resources that are used for household needs, irrigation, fish farming and production. The pool water is also used for the cooling system of the Metsamor NPP. Research by specialists  has shown that the groundwater level in the basin over the past 10  years has dropped by an average of 6-9 meters (up to 15 meters in  some places), and the artesian zone has decreased by about 67%.

This was discussed at the "Prospects for sustainable management of  water resources in the Ararat Valley" scientific conference held in  Yerevan today, where the water problems of the region and their  negative consequences for Armenia were discussed. The conference was  organized by the USAID Advanced Science & Partnerships for Integrated  Resource Development (ASPIRED) Project.

The experts present noted that the negative dynamics of the excessive  exploitation of the underground water resources of the valley leads  to a water imbalance, a decrease in the potential for groundwater  recovery, the creation of water shortages in the region, which  threatens the food and energy security of the country. As a result of  resource depletion, as of today more than 30 communities in the  Ararat Valley are experiencing problems with drinking water and  irrigation, which is evidenced by the assessment of demand carried  out by experts. It was revealed that the negative difference between  the demand and supply of water in the artesian basin of the Ararat  valley was more than 1.120 million m3. This shortage is mainly  related to human activities and overuse of resources by various  sectors of the economy, the main of which is fisheries.

It was noted that until recently, government decisions on groundwater  abstraction were based on data from 1983-1984. In order to prevent  over-exploitation of water resources, regulate the activities of  water users, the government has adopted appropriate decisions and  legislative acts. However, data from the ASPIRED project show that in  2016 the actual water withdrawals from these resources are still 46%  higher than the allowable amount approved by the government.

As Director of the USAID Mission in Armenia David Hoffman stated at  the conference, the Armenian government and the United States have  been working together for more than 25 years to solve the country's  water problems. "We need data to better support the sector. How is it  possible to reduce the consumption of groundwater, not knowing their  true volume, because the latest data is about 40 years old? He  expressed hope that as a result of further cooperation, it will be  possible to restore the groundwater resources of the country's  agricultural sector, which is of strategic importance for the safety  of the Armenian (Metsamor) NPP.

Deputy Minister of the Environment of the Republic of Armenia Anna  Mazmanyan highly appreciated the implementation of the USAID/ ASPIRED  project, highlighting the results of complex studies of the  hydrological and hydrogeological conditions of the Ararat Valley,  carried out within the framework of the project, primarily in the  context of the analysis of the origin, properties and condition of  groundwater, which is necessary to determine technical solutions for  their competent and efficient use. The research will help develop an  unified, interconnected and integrated approach to efficient water  management in this critical region of Armenia.

It was noted that on the basis of these data provided by ASPIRED, the  Armenian government will be able to develop reasonable policies and  legislation in the water sector, which are primarily aimed at  achieving the goals of long-term conservation of resources in order  to meet the water needs of the population and economic entities, in  conditions of a conscious and responsible approach to water use.

To recall, back in September 2019, the Armenian government made a  decision on conservation of 97 water wells in the Ararat Valley.  Presenting then the draft decision, the head of the Ministry of  Environment noted that 37.9 million drams will be allocated from the  Reserve Fund of the government to solve the task.  As a result of the  implementation of the program, about 30 million cubic meters of water  will be saved. In addition, the possibility of a complete ban on the  use of artesian wells in the Ararat valley during the period when  there is no need for irrigation was considered.

To recall, on August 29, the government of the country made another  decision aimed at streamlining the order of water supply to fish  farms in the Ararat valley. About 120 fish farms have been operating  in the valley. In order to provide them with the required volumes of  water, it is envisaged to use a closed water supply cycle, which will  form a single chain in the production of fish and fish products. To  this end, it was planned to establish certain limits for companies  engaged in this area. It was proposed to fish farms to modernize  production by transferring from to a closed cycle, and as support  measures were developed to make the farms accessible to affordable  financial resources and leasing transactions. 460 million drams were  allocated from the state budget to solve this problem.


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