'SOS Garni' Initiative Group
Garni community residents, Kotayq Region, have addressed a letter to Ashot Manukyan, RA Minister for Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources. They are claiming that the amended version of 'Qaghtsrashen Gravity Irrigation System' doesn't solve the problems and they are proposing alternative versions. The letter of Garni residents says:
'Since 2014 Garni community has been fighting against 'Qaghtsrashen Gravity Irrigation System' project, which will leave the village without water.'
According to the project, as a result of increasing the irrigation efficiency in 12 communities located under the subordination of 'Artashat' WUC located in Ararat region, it will be possible to irrigation another 378 ha of new land areas together with factually irrigated 854 ha of land areas. Another important result of the project will be saving electricity.
Due to the protests by Garni community and negotiations with the Armenian Government, the World Bank and 'water Economy Project Implementation Unit' of State Committee on Water Economy, which are funding and management bodies of the project, suspended this project for arond one year, Then the amended version of the project was approved, which is consensual versual, according to the PIU representatives.
The amendments to 'Qaghtsrashen Gravity Irrigation System' are not sufficient either for the project goals or residents' requirements.
In reply to Garni resident Arusyak Ayvazyan's letter, the State Comittee on Water Industry replied in writing, 'All the works performed so far are discussed and approved in the frames of the main master project, which has undergone environmental impact assessment and received a positive opinion in line with RA Law 'On Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise (EIA 23.01.2015).'…. The amendments refers only to the first lot of the project, which mainly refer to Garni Gorge.'
The project doesn't comply with the posed tasks, as instead of gravity it's planned to use electricity. 'Water intake will be carried out near magistral pipeline PK52+00 using the existing pumping station in Hatsavan,' the project says.
The project passes through Azat reservoir, which ensures gravity irrigation for Ararat communities, while in case of project implementation Azat Reservoir won't get sufficient water from the Azat River. In the absence of exact calculations in the project the expected outcome is not substantiated on the decrease in the cost unit of agricultural products for land area owners and communities.
To ensure project results we are proposing and willing to discuss an alternative version to use the water of Azat reservoir in a correct manner, construct a solar power station, which will provide affordable electricity to operate the pumping station and supply water to additional land areas.'
17:19 April 25, 2017