Yeghegis Community Head: Fish Disappearing Because of SHPPs

Yeghegis Community Head: Fish Disappearing Because of SHPPs

EcoLur

Two SHPPs have been constructed in the administrative area of Yeghegis Community, Vayots Dzor Region. According to Yeghegis Community Head Yurik Mkrtchyan, currently one SHPP is operation, while the non-operating SHPP have been constructed illegally, then it hasn't been dismantled and it remained like that. The Community Head doesn't have any complaints from the operating HPP saying it doesn't disturb the irrigation. 'We get irrigation both from the Yeghegis River and the springs. The upper neighborhood makes use of the springs, while the lower neighborhood makes use of the river. It's true that the water in the summer season is little, but it is enough. Besides, around 15-20 households make use of the waterline running to Khanjyan and this water helps us much,' the community head said. 11 community residents are employed at the SHPP with average 60,000-70,000 AMD salaries. The community doesn't receive any social support from the SHPP, they only pay the rent of the leasing, which makes up annually 170,000 AMD, according to the community head.
By and large, the Yeghegis River is rich with SHPPs, there is a whole cascade of SHPPs constructed on the river. Yurik Mkrtchyan mentions that 9 SHPP are already operating above their community and because of them the river is left without any fish. 'Before SHPP operation there was much brown trout, but now this fish species get eliminated because of the SHPPs,' Yeghegis Community Head outlined. Yeghegis community has 511 residents, where they mainly deal with agriculture and cattle breeding. The community head stresses out tourism as a prospect for community development. 'We have many monasteries and churches near our village – Smbataberd and Zorats Church, the oldest Jewish cemetery, cross stones and magnificent nature surrounded with forests. Our nature is rich is cold springs and wild animals such as ears, wild goats... we all think it is possible to develop tourism here,' Yuik Mkrtchyan said and added and villagers will be able to sell their agroproducts due to tourism.

In their interview with EcoLur Yeghegis residents mentioned that their community will greatly benefit from tourism development: unemployment is common in the community, while consumption market is limited, nevertheless, the absence of infrastructures hinders the development of tourism. The residents don't know what kind of modern infrastructures are needed for tourism. In their opinion, tourism development is in conflict with SHPPs, 'They take away water... and destroy our sightseeings...We don't benefit from SHPPs...Nobody asked us whether or not we want a SHPP to be constructed in our community.'





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".



18:27 June 09, 2017


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