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The ecosystem of some rivers is in a catastrophic state because of the construction and uncontrolled operation of small hydropower plants
On June 29, 2015,, YSU Faculty of Geology and Geography, Centre for Sustainable Development and the OSCE Office in Yerevan held a round-table “The construction and operation of hydropower plants on watercourses in the RA”.

Director of the centre Ruben Movsisyan welcomed the participants and said the operation of small hydropower plants in one of the shadow sectors of our economy, where there are more problems than benefits, so this discussion is very urgent.
The speaker was an expert of the Centre for Sustainable Development, Candidate of Geological

Sciences Sargis Kelyan, who presented the expediency of construction small hydropower plants and the environmental problems caused by their operation.

“In parallel with the development of hydropower plants in Armenia we see the issues related to the usage of water resources, river ecosystems, biodiversity, protected areas, landscapes, social status and quality of life,” – said the speaker.

According to the speaker, in parallel with the development of this sector, a number of environmental problems arise that are associated with the financing of small hydropower plants, legal aspects of land use and water use, energy security, river ecosystem deterioration, deforestation, as well as ecological risks associated with the loss of biodiversity.

Then he presented a package of proposals, which can help to avoid potential problems and to regulate the sector.

“The government has to decide the restricted zones for hydropower plants, which include the protected areas, forest areas, landslide zones, hydrological sensitive areas. We should also ban the construction of new hydropower plants and not prolong licenses to build small hydropower plants on rivers that are in crisis due to overexploitation,” – he said and added that all official documents on small hydropower plants should be available to the public and the public opinion on the construction of hydropower plants should be taken into consideration.

Dean of the Faculty of Geography and Geology Marat Grigoryan assured that all environmental issues discussed by experts at this faculty and the following proposals and recommendations are submitted to the RA Government’s attention.