In the framework of the project entitled “Support to the Reforms of SHPPs through a Dialogue between the Public and The Ministry of Nature Protection of the RA for the Purpose of River Ecosystem Use” the expert group visited “Gegharot” SHPP. “Gegharot” SHPP is situated in the administrative area of Aragats community in Aragatsotn region. It is built on the River Gegharot (the river is 25 km). The SHPP is operated by “El Kas” LTD.
As a result of the monitoring the expert group found out:
- The SHPP has been operating since 2010.
- The static pressure of the SHPP isn’t mentioned in the project. According to the project, estimated pressure –` 307.4m, the estimated yield used by the SHPP is 1.2m3/s, projected capacity – 2.91MW. According to the certificate issued by the Public Services Regulatory Committee, the factual useful delivery of the electricity is 7.7 million kWh, according to the project, the estimated production is 12.37 million kWh, duration of license - 03.02.2010- 03.02.2025. The small HPP doesn’t have a permission of water use.
- Two Chinese turbines are installed in the station.
- In the station node three units are installed though during the visit two of them worked because the other had broken down.
- During the period when there is lack of water (from November to March) the content of the concentration of some chemical elements (including sulfate ions) becomes multiple, and the water active with chemical structure erodes the pieces of the units. The units were covered with stainless steel for protection.
- In the River Gegharot where the head office of the SHPP is built, according to the residents and employees of the SHPP there is not fish in spite of the fact that the hydrological type of the river meets the Salmo fario biological requirements of trout.
In the study entitled “Eco Chemical Analyses of the Waters in the Upper and Middle Currents of the River Gegharot” performed by independent experts Seyran Minasyan and Arevik Hayrapetyan it is particularly mentioned, “It’s clear from the study of Fe, Al, Co, Mn, Cr, Cd, Zn, Na, Mg, Ca, K metals and elements in the waters of the River Gegharot that in the waters of the observation posts below the two operating SHPPs the concentrations of the mentioned elements essentially (2-10 times, on average 5-7 times) exceed those in the waters of the observation posts above the SHPPs. This shows that the two operating SHPPs have a great influence on the quality of the river waters.
As the river has a self-cleaning feature the water quality in the observation posts mainly met the requirements of irrigation water. Only in the 5th observation post (which is next to the second SHPP building) there is a comparative growth in the concentrations of certain chemical elements which is conditioned by the fact that the used water in the turbine doesn’t manage to return to its normal temperature and in that part the river flows in an old cement riverbed.
In the case of the two factors (changes in hydromorphology and abolition of the water self-cleaning effect) the influence has got a local and limited nature.
- According to the data of monitoring results in spite of the above mentioned facts (work of 2 HPPs, water flow through a cement riverbed) the quality of the river water was estimated to be high.
- In the station node there is an auto manual control system.
- In the water abstraction there is not an automatic water level control system.
- The transformer substation is fenced. The transformers weren’t equipped with oil purification system.
- The area is renovated and landscaped relevant to the project solutions.
- It was obvious that the areas with fertile soil layer had been restored.
- There is a concrete fish passway in the head section. In spite of water abundance, hardly any water flew through the fish passway and it couldn’t serve for its purpose. According to the employee of the SHPP service staff environmental exit is set free through that building when there is lack of water. In other cases it is set free through the dam.
- The environmental intake is 0.125 m3/s according to the SHPP construction project.
- There is a fish protection net, the length between its cracks is 5.5-7 cm through which even 15-20 cm fish can pass.
- In the areas of the pipelines the activities aimed at restoring the landscape and re-cultivation were not sufficient. It was also conditioned by the relief conditions (slopes) of the area.
- The garbage was removed in an organized way, only in the head office there were piles of plant wastes gathered from the cage keeping the garbage.
- Domestic sewage was removed by a water-resistant well.
- The requirements of free water use are met.
- In 2014 inspections were conducted, the SHPP caused damage of 51 million AMD, it didn’t have a permission of water use and other documents.
- To get permission of water use.
- To provide that the environmental intake passes through the fish passway.
- To install a water meter and control the environmental intake.
- To correspond the fish passway and fish protection net to the living requirements of fish in case they appear in the river.
- To carry out landscape restoration works in the areas of pipelines.
Suggestion to the Ministry of Nature Protection of the RA
- To explore the water quality in the River Gegharot and find out why the quality of the water in the river below the SHPPs gets worse. To do surveys in the river water not only while the HPPs work but also in case of stopping the work.
The material was developed in the frames of “Supporting reforms in the sector of small hydro power plants through enabling a dialogue between civil society and the Ministry of Nature Protection for sustainable use of river ecosystems” supported by UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme".
19:20 July 24, 2015