President of 'EcoLur' Informational NGO Inga Zarafyan has addressed a letter to Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan proposing to have ecopassports for SHPPs. The letter addressed to the PM says,
'Respectable Mr. Prime Minister
Lack of water, the problem of sustainable water usage and preservation of water ecosystem are the most urgent issues for Armenia. Water should, first of all, be preserved in natural water ecosystems – in water springs, rivers and lakes. Nevertheless, water ecosystems are subject to huge overloads by water users and they are disturbed.
One of the reasons is the pressure of the SHPPs. A total of 184 SHPPs are operated in Armenia with the aggregate capacity of 353 MW, another 36 SHPPs with the aggregate capacity of 69 MW are being constructed. Thus, the aggregate capacity of 400 WM of SHPPs planned in the concept paper of hydropower development has been excelled.
Taking into consideration that 132 SHPPs are constructed on 47 rivers and natural water flows and the fact that they use water springs, which form water basins, SHPPs enter the specifically protected areas of nature and form cascades piping sometimes 50-70% of the rivers, blocking the natural flow of the river ish, not ensuring the free flow of the water in the river (environmental flow), this sector need reforms urgently so as not to allow the disturbance of water ecosystems, lack of water, disappearanc of river fish species, including red-listed ones, disturbance of natural landscapes. The environmental damage is accompanied by the social conflicts in the communities because of the aforementioned problems and not having any opportunity to make use of the water and to live.
The need for reforms in SHPP sector has emerged for the preservation of river ecosystems. In 2014-2016 EcoLur implemented "Support to SHPP-relating reforms through the dialogue of public and RA Nature Protection Ministry for Sustainable Use of River Ecosystems” with the support of UNDP/GEF in partnership with Nature Protection Ministry, where EcoLur studies 87 SHPPs. Another 38 SHPPs were studies in the next project supported by UNDP/GEF "Supporting new reforms in SHPP sector through CSO-government dialogue", so a total of 125 SHPPs have been studied.
For each SHPP 75 criteria have been completed both based on documents and the studies carried out in the SHPPs, which were included in the databases on SHPPs used by all stakeholders, first of all, by RA Nature Protection Ministry, which is the project partner.
One of the main reforms proposed by "Supporting new reforms in SHPP sector through CSO-government dialogue" project is the ecopassportizaton of SHPPs. It's a new mechanism developed by Project experts, which enables performing control and self-control based on the data collected and recorded in the ecopassports. It enables encouraging those SHPPs, which operate without violations thus conserving the environment. The need for the urgent introduction of ecopassportization is confirmed by the fact that as a result of Martuni community residents' complaints against the operation of 'Martuni' SHPP, the SHPP owners have promised to undergo the process of ecopassportization.
In parallel with the creation of SHPP databases the ecopassportization is the main component of both projects, which has been approved by all stakeholders, including RA Nature Protection Ministry, Ministry for Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources, Territorial Administration and Development, Ministry of Emergency States, Public Service Regulatory Committee, National Assembly Standing Committee on Environment and Agriculture, UNDP, WWF Armenia, SHPP Union, 'HydroPower' Company, Public Environmental Alliance, Network of Aarhus Centers, 'Association for Sustainable Human Development' NGO and 'EcoLur' Informational NGO.
We are sending the draft governmental resolution of ecopassportization of SHPPs in order to put it into circulation as soon as possible and to have it adopted by the government.
We are also sending another draft governmental resolution developed in the frames of the project “On Making Amendments and Supplements to RA Governmental Resolution № 1343-N dated on 19 October 2017 “On Annulling RA Governmental Resolutions № 1680-N dated on 20 December 2012 and № 519-N “On Approving Checklists of Risk-based Inspections Carried out by Nature Protection and Soil Inspection Body of RA Nature Protection Ministry of RA””, which aims to ensure effective environmental control in SHPP construction and operation stages.
Inga Zarafyan, President of 'EcoLur' Informational NGO, Coordinator of "Supporting new reforms in SHPP sector through CSO-government dialogue" project
18:06 June 04, 2018