YEREVAN (ARKA)—The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) presented a new program for better management of Armenia’s southern water basins to ministers, research institutions, and international organizations in Yerevan on Friday.
The Clean Energy and Water project, based on a study of river basins in Vorotan, Vokhchi and Meghriget conducted with the Ministry of Environment, is estimated to cost $5.6 million.
According to Vice Premier and Minister of International Economic Integration and Reforms, Vache Gabrielyan, the program took four years to develop. Friday’s presentation offered a comprehensive approach to better manage limited water resources.
Gabrielyan said that the program will allow the government to eventually implement it across the country.
First Deputy Minister of Environment Simon Papyan said that the implementation of the program is important amid reduced surface water sources.
The most recent study by the Ministry of Environment revealed that surface water levels in Armenia will diminish by another 10-12 percent by 2030, and that the country may face a serious challenge, Papyan said.
Head of the USAID Yerevan office, Karen Hilliard, said that USAID has supported Armenia’s government with water management for many years.
Hilliard said that the current plan is a first step toward practical use of Armenia’s existing legal framework, which has been improved through many years of effort. The basins in Armenia’s south were determined to be suffering the largest water deficit, she added.
Head of the Clean Energy and Water program Magda Avetisyan said that the project covers management issues for all water resources in the Syunik region.
Avetisyan expressed her hope that the project would be approved by the government so that efficient water management policies could be implemented everywhere.
The Clean Energy and Water program was developed by the local office of the American international development firm, Mendez England & Associates, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and the Public Services Regulatory Commission.
According the Ministry of Environment, annual water abstraction amounted to 2,860.2 million cubic meters in 2014; total consumption was 2,112.8 million cubic meters. Transmission losses were 747.4 million cubic meters or 26.1% of the abstraction. Wastewater discharges amounted to 846.5 million cubic meters.