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Qualified fast flowing irrigation water to HPP owners, poor network to gardeners

Aparan_19_03
19.03.2014

The news about the construction of the HPP on the fast flowing irrigation system nearby Ohanavan and Karbi villages of Aragatsotn province fed by Aparan reservoir had raised a storm of protest among local villagers. They were afraid that after the HPP construction they would not have irrigation water for watering gardens: their sole source of income. Aiming to obtain information about the project of construction new fast flowing water pipeline for the HPP construction they have applied to Aparan Aarhus Center.
The Centre had made inquiry to the MTA of RA and the Public Services Regulatory Commission. The latter responded that the Commission had not granted any license to “GAHA Energy Ltd” for the construction or operation of a small hydropower plant.

In response to the inquiry of Aparan Aarhus Center on March 18, A. Bakhshyan, Prime Minister of the MTA invited to a meeting the coordinator of the Center and PR manager of the Armenian Aarhus Centers, I. Zarafyan, president of Ecolur NGO, L. Galstyan, representative of the PAEF as well as representative of Karbi community gardeners to hear the concerns of environmentalists and the community, opinions on the issue, discuss the observations and recommendations.

At the beginning of the meeting A. Bakhshyan informed the NGO representatives that on the prime minister’s recommendation a special commission has been set up to examine irrigation water’s quantity in the given region, the state of the internal network as an integral part of the irrigation system, the issue of the fast flowing system construction and not a word about the HPP. The latter assured that still there is no any HPP project, but if it would be, then priority would be given to villagers to get necessary quantity of water.
L. Galstyan raised a question if the HPP would not be built, then why water use permit was granted to “GAHA Energy Ltd”.

The others also argued that not once have listened about the intention of the HPP construction from the provincial government officers, WUAs representatives of the region and the representatives of the fast flowing system construction company.

The Aarhus Centers information officer noticed that taking specific actions today, for the alleged actions in the future, which is the construction of the new fast-flowing irrigation system, is not derived from the Aarhus Convention, citing that about the environment related actions the public should be informed at the earliest stages.

As noted I. Zarafyan, actually through the high quality fast flowing water pipelines the water will flow into the HPP and the remaining water will be given to farmers through the old, damaged irrigation system.

A. Bakhshyan assured that currently the gardens water supply system renovation project at the preparatory stage. Then the latter added that if gardeners will be deprived of water, they will take extreme steps: explode the pipe or the HPP. Afterwards what would be with the gardeners, the latter did not answer.

N. Manukyan, Aparan Aarhus Center Coordinator noted that farmers are skeptical about such projects, the concerns are justified, because due to the operation of the HPPs built on the river Gegharot water scarcity is observed in the neighboring villages, the remaining water is not fit for use. During the debate the environmentalists also raised the issue of the continuing water scarcity observed in Aparan reservoir in recent years, while the main water source of the fast flowing is the same reservoir.

Mary Chakryan
PR manager of the Armenian Aarhus Centers
Tell: 010 551364
E-mail: aarhusnews@gmail.com
Translated by Anush Beybutyan