In regard with “Kosh” SHPP EcoLur has applied to Nature Protection Ministry demanding to hold new public hearings, as only one out of three affected communities took part in the public hearings. The letter addressed to Nature Protection Minister Aram Harutyunyan and “Environmental Expertise” SNCO Director Andranik Gurgyan says,
“AKAG” Company has submitted Kosh” SHPP project to “Environmental Expertise” SNCO of Nature Protection Ministry for expertise.
On 6 December the public hearings of “Kosh” SHPP were held in Kosh Community, Aragatsotn Region. The SHPP is planned to be constructed on Kosh branch of Arzni-Shamiram canal.
The public hearings organized by the company had drawbacks. Three communities, Kosh, Aragatsotn and Nor Edessia, receive irrigation water from the canal, nevertheless, only Kosh community is recognized as a project affected community.
The authority to recognize a community as project affected belongs to Nature Protection Ministry, nevertheless, the Ministry Expert Heriqnaz Mkrtchyan noted she was not aware that besides Kosh, two other communities use this canal, as the project didn’t say anything about it. The head of Aragatsotn and Nor Edessia communities expressed their concerns in their interview with EcoLur.
Aragatsotn Village Head Melsik Ghazaryan:
- We didn’t know anything. It’s important for our community residents not to have any fluctuations in water…
Nor Edessia Village Head Vahan Abgaryan:
- Who has informed us about it?... This year we received water in late April, and it was cut off on 28 October. We hope we will have one month more water with the help of this people.”
“Environmental Grounds” documents for Kosh SHPP shows that the maximum water left for irrigation is 0.37 m3/sec, while in April-November month the maximum for Kosh branch is 2.32 m3/sec to meet the demand for irrigation systems.
Taking into consideration the aforementioned EcoLur’s working group thinks that SHPP project should be amended with the following points:
1. Aragatsotn and Nor Edessia communities should be recognized as “Kosh” SHPP project affected communities,
2. New public hearings should be held for “Kosh” SHPP project with the participation of three communities,
3. The new project of “Kosh” SHPP should exactly lay down the precise amount of irrigation water set for three communities rather than the environmental flow. It’s not excluded that the main water will flow via the constructed pipe and there will no water left for the communities.
4. The new project should be displayed on the website of Nature Protection Ministry not later than a week before the hearings.
This material was made possible through the full support of Open Society Foundations – Armenia’s Policy Fellowship Program Initiative, grant number 18571. Ideas, thoughts, and arguments presented in the paper are the sole expression of the author’s views and do not reflect those of Open Society Assistance Foundations – Armenia.
16:02 December 18, 2013