YEREVAN—A recent survey by the USAID Clean Energy and Water Program (CEWP) shows diminishing groundwater resources in Armenia’s Ararat Valley, the organization said during a presentation of its research on Tuesday. The presentation was addressed to government officials, industry leaders, and scientists.
Participants at the conference included the Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgian, Head of USAID Armenia Karen Hilliard, officials from Armenia’s ministries of Environmental Protection, Agriculture, and Energy and Natural Resources, and representatives from the regional governments of Ararat and Armavir provinces as well as from the Armenian National Assembly.
The study found that the level of groundwater resources, including in reservoirs and aquifers, in the Ararat Valley has significantly dropped over the last six to eight years. Over 30 communities in the Valley suffer from shortages of potable and irrigated water, which leaves a negative impact on the socio-economic and health conditions of the region’s villages.
The study strongly urges government action to address these issues through improved water management and control mechanisms, including the introduction of water conservation measures. Such measures can help remedy the situation and restore groundwater resources in Armenia’s vital agricultural hub, the study says.
The study was a one-year collaborative effort by international and local experts, including specialists from the ArmWaterProject Institute and Mel-Hov companies. Completed in February 2014, the assessment reviews and analyzes previous studies of the groundwater balance, past and present groundwater use in the Ararat Valley, existing aquifers (layers of penetrable rock or sand that can absorb and hold water), and water extraction and recharge rates from the aquifers. The study also provides important recommendations for sustainable use of existing groundwater resources considering current and projected water demand in the valley.