On 20 December 2017 the expert group of "Supporting New Reforms in SHPP Sector through CSO-Government Dialogue" project had a meeting with RA Nature Protection Deputy Minister Khachik Hakobyan. The aim of this meeting was to discuss the results of the first stage and to envisage the actions designed for the next stage.
“It’s a component of a very important process for us, which is performed with the cooperation of state and civil society. Last year EcoLur successfully accomplished the project on monitoring SHPPs and this project is the logical continuation of the previous project. Highly valuing the results of the project and its efficiency, the Ministry confirmed its continuation,” Deputy Minister Khachik Hakobyan mentioned in his speech.
“I would like to thank UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme, which supported the implementation of this project, Nature Protection Ministry for its support and project experts for their high-level work,” said Project Coordinator Inga Zarafyan, President of “EcoLur” Informational NGO.
In 2017 the expert group visited 36 SHPPs. EcoLur’s Expert Victoria Burnazyan presented the detected problems and findings. She mentioned that three draft governmental resolutions and 2 bills had been developed based on the project outcomes and put into circulation on www.e-draft.am.
“Proposals have been sent to RA Nature Protection Ministry on the draft resolution of the Armenian government on the calculation of environmental flow and RA Law “On Environmental Impact Expert Assessment and Expertise”. SHPP inspection sheet has been developed for Nature Protection and Soil Inspection Body of RA Nature Protection Ministry. SHPP ecopassport proposal has been developed for the resolution of the Armenian Government as a relevant appendix,” Victoria Burnazyan presented.
EcoLur's expert Victoria Burnazyan presented the problems detected during the second stage of the SHPP monitoring project: There are SHPPs which haven't undergone environmental expertise because their capacity is up to 1 MW, nevertheless, their structures and dams blocking the riverbeds have a profound effect on the river ecosystem. There are SHPPs which are constructed in the water-course formation zone, which contradicts the legislation. She mentioned that the problems with environmental flow, the automated management system of water level, absence of water-measuring devices, fish passways, loss of fish species, incorrect hydro-economic estimates, efficient devices, the poor environmental and sanitary state remain unsolved, which were also detected in the first stage of the project. The experts also mentioned those SHPPs, which didn't have any proposal for improvement. Overall, 123 SHPPs were monitored during the first and second stages of the project.
The main comments were made to SHPP designing and construction stages.
'I think that RA Nature Protection Ministry shall not only do the EIA, but be involved in the list of different bodies accepting the building for operation. We should be on the acceptance act,' Khachik Hakobyan said.
Project Expert Roza Julhakyan shared the same opinion on this proposal, 'When an SHPP is accepted for operation, it is signed by relevant departments. I'm proposing to include either Nature Protection Ministry or Expert Assessment or Inspection Body signature in the lost of Urban Development Ministry committee.'
Expert Heriqnaz Mkrtchyan mentioned that legislative amendments should be initiated so as each river and brooklet can have a description. The expert proposed to add the amount of environmental flow for low-water rivers.
Project Ichttyologist Samvel Pipoyan said that most SHPPs are not equipped with fish passways, which can ensure the natural migration of the fish. According to the Ichthyologist, the natural migration of the fish shall be ensured with a natural flow.
In his turn, Khachik Hakobyan made a proposal for all SHPPs to have a notification system so as to notify the population in case of essential changes of the water flows.
'We should think in terms of project continuation. It's very important for the Ministry to have such a resource, who we should always apply to. We should see what kind of opportunities are available unless we solve this problem,' Khachik Hakobyan outlined.
The material was developed in the frames of “Supporting new reforms in SHPP sector through CSO-government dialogue” supported by UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme".
17:22 December 25, 2017