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Yeghvard Irrigation System Improvement Project has been launched

On October 20, the first public hearing (discussion) on “Yeghvard Irrigation System Improvement Project Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment application” document was held in Yeghvard municipality.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Water Economy Committee of the RA Ministry of Agriculture, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), “ATMS Solutions” LLC implementing the EIA, Yeghvard, Qasaqh, Ashtarak and other municipalities, regional WUAs, Yeghvard Aarhus Center, residents and other stakeholders.

The welcoming speech was delivered by Mr. V. Narimanyan, deputy chairman of the SCWS of the RA MA. He quoted the speech of Mr. A. Harutyunyan, chairman of the SCWS of the RA MA, according to which the latter highlighted the construction of the reservoir in terms of social, environmental, job opening and irrigation improvement.

Mr. K. Harutyunyan, deputy mayor of Yeghvard also stressed important to construction of reservoirs n the country, pointing out the importance of Yeghvard reservoir.

Then Mr. Kh. Tsarukyan, responsible official of Yeghvard reservoir project through a presentation presented description of the Yeghvard Irrigation System Improvement Project, referring to the project’s structure, facility, beneficiary areas. Through the map he presented how the water should be brought to the reservoir from the Arzni-Shamiram canal. Mr. Kh. Tsarukyan also informed that as a result of the construction of a reservoir occupying 900 hectare will be stored 90 million cubic meters of water.

Due to which will be reduced the volume of water used for irrigation purposes from Lake Sevan, will be established strategic reserve of irrigation water, which would be especially needed during the drought, will be made significant energy savings as a result of investment gravity flow irrigation system without pumping. Then discussion was held.

Mr. M. Hovhannisyan, executive director of Yeghvard WUA welcoming the discussion marked that they had numerous meetings with representatives of Japanese party, discussed a range of issues. Then he asked a question about water filtration and water permeability in order to determine the process of geological works.

Mr. Haruo Hiki, Reservoir Planning Officer said that groundwater and geological surveys were launched in June. The research data indicates that water permeability ratio is greater, that’s why there is a need for waterproof layers installation adding that the project costs are highly dependent on the type and construction ways of those layers.

Mr. K. Harutyunyan, deputy mayor of Yeghvard raised the issue of environmental impact.

Ms. Rie Kitao, JICA’s responsible officer on environmental issues responded that environmental impact research is still in process: is being studied the ecosystem of the region, in particular the possible impact on Qasaqh and Hrazdan river fish spices, as well as toxic chemicals and pesticide impact on water and soil in the beneficiary areas.

Mr. V. Narimanyan, deputy chairman of the SCWS of the RA MA asked a question to the consultant of Japanese party about the environmental and social risks associated with the reservoir construction and how those are typical for Yeghvard reservoir.

Ms. Rie Kitao mentioned that a large number of techniques will be used during the reservoir construction works; it is assumed a certain degree of air pollution, as well as the mixture of Hrazdan and Kasakh rivers waters can lead to origination of a mixed ecosystem. The latter assured that their goal is to minimize the environmental impact.

To the question of A. Antonyan, mayor of Ashtarak about the construction of resorts at the reservoir area, it was responded that such project is not planned.

In the course of the discussion were raised issues on water lines, land status, potential resettlement / lands allotment, lands alienation, transportation of soil layer, feasibility study, possible silting of reservoir, bogging, social and other issues.

V. Narimanyan, summing up the hearing, thanked the participants for taking part in the discussion, organizers for support, including Yeghvard municipality, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Yeghvard Aarhus Center. Today’s meeting the latter considered as a starting date of an historic event.
After the meeting, representatives of the JICA and the SCWS discussed the further steps and other issues at the Aarhus Center.

Ruzanna Manyan
Coordinator of Yeghvard Aarhus Center
Anush Beybutyan
Coordinator of Yeghvard Aarhus Center
Tell: (+374) 224 22933, 94 331055, 91 41 14 35
E-mail: ruzannamanyan@gmail.com , anush.beybutyan@mail.ru
Translated by Anush Beybutyan