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A long-awaited sequel due to the joint activities of GEF, UNDP, OSCE, Kapan Aarhus Center and Syunik regional administration
Finally has been restored and re-opened the “Mother stream” water line in Syunik, which will enable to stop irrigation of agricultural lands with waters flowing from Artsvanik tailings dam in Syunik community.
The canal has been restored with the support of the UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme and the OSCE Office in Yerevan Project Implementation Presence in Syunik region, as a result has been reconstructed previously built, but non-operating irrigation canal.
Has been restored the 4,000-meter-long irrigation canal, which will provide irrigation water to Achanan and Syunik communities from the river Norashenik, has been prevented further pollution of about 30 hectares of lands with the waters flowing from Artsvanik tailings dam, provided a sufficient amount of water to irrigate 70 hectares in two additional communities, hence ensuring additional income of
about 160 families from neighboring communities. In addition has been increased public awareness on global environmental issues.

The UNDP-GEF small grants program has provided US $ 50,000 to carry out canal renovation works and control the technical and design works.

The OSCE Office in Yerevan Project Implementation Presence in Syunik has provided about 15,000 Euros for the project development, attracting partners and conducting project’s monitoring in the place. The project was implemented by “Kapan Regional Development Fund”.On Syunik governor’s initiative, on August 5, 2015 the working group under the guidance of Vardan Davtyan, Deputy Governor visited the restored irrigation canal, through which was already flowing clean water, but Syunik community was connected to the canal with contaminated river water of “ZCMC” tailings dump reasoning the scarcity of water.

With the Deputy Governor we also paid visit to Syunik community: to examine the issue of sewage outflow raised by Kapan Aarhus Centre. And then the working group held a discussion on the studied issues in Kapan Aarhus Centre.

Deputy Governor Vardan Davtyan noted that immediately should be stopped the entry of contaminated waters into the irrigation canal and expressed the regional administration’s assistance to discuss the issues of mixing clean ground waters flowing from the tailings tunnels to the canal with the “ZCMC” and increasing the amount of supplying water in case of scarcity with Kapan WC.

He urged the mayor of Syunik to prepare land irrigation schedule until August 10 and suggested the OSCE and partner NGOs to participate in the discussion and provide support to the community in the preparation of the irrigation schedule.

The problem was set so that villagers must be sure that they will have the required amount of clean water (according to the norms of irrigation) and the water management process should be strictly controlled. Instruction was also given by Deputy Governor to complete the registration of ownership of the canal rapidly by the relevant bodies, as a property of two communities.

A proposal was made by the Aarhus Center Coordinator to carry out additional laboratory testing of Voghji river water to determine if it usable for the irrigation purpose, because the level of the river is higher than the irrigating areas and it can also be used for irrigation purpose. He also proposed to do anything possible to avoid of any kind of technical contamination of river Voghji in the section of Kapan city.

It should be noted that the issue was raised yet in 2007, when with the assistance of the OSCE Office in Yerevan had been carried out monitoring of surface water and soil pollution of nearby areas of Kapan city by the Center for Ecological-Noosphere Studies of the RA NAS, as well as eco-toxicological evaluation of agricultural lands and crops (materials are attached), where was clearly noted the danger of using a large number of grain crops. Afterwards it has been repeatedly raised by Kapan Aarhus Centre.

On July 17, 2012 by the center’s coordinator has been developed a project to restore the canal and submitted to the “ZCMC” briefly. However they failed to receive funding.

Note that in September the land clearance expert of the OSCE will visit to Syunik, who will help to assess the level of soils contamination or will offer solutions to land clearance effective management which will reduce the absorption of metals in the soil by plants.
Afterwards, the OSCE will help in getting funds to resolve this problem as well.

Ashot Avagyan
Coordinator of Kapan Aarhus Center
Tell: (+374) 93 79 59 21
E-mail: info_kapan@aarhus.am , kapan.aarhus@mail.ru
Translated by Anush Beybutyan