March 22 is the World Water Day: the theme of 2018 is Nature for Water.
Under the UN, currently 663 million people are still without access to improved drinking water sources in their neighborhood. More than 80 per cent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any pollution removal. At least 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water that is fecally contaminated putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Under WHO and UNICEF, unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year.
Problems with Water Resources in Armenia
Contamination with Sewage and Wastewater
According to ‘Concept Paper on Introduction of Water-Saving Technologies’ draft, there are sewage collection and cleaning systems in around 20% of town and village communities in Armenia. Despite the presence of collection systems, sewage is mainly dumped into the rivers and other water areas, as there are no facilities to collect wastewater and to transport them to cleaning stations.
Under the official data, water supply and discharge are not performed in 579 residential areas: people use the water of the deep wells, which doesn't undergo chlorine treatment. According to the assessment of 'Jinj' LLC, around 2.6 billion Euros will be required for the installation of sewage and cleaning station in the whole territory of Armenia.
On 2 March 2018 RA National Assembly adopted documentation package 'On Making Amendments and Supplements to Water Code of the Republic of Armenia'. The new law sets a requirement of preliminary cleaning of wastewater for industrial wastewater producers, particularly the communities should be equipped with sewage discharge and cleaning systems.
Ararat Artesian Basin
In Ararat Valley sources are getting dry and there is water quality deterioration as a result of overexploitation of Ararat artesian water basin. The water intake in Ararat Valley exceeds the volumes set in RA Law 'On National Program of Water' – 1.1 billion cum per year and makes up 1.5 billion cum per year. It's planned to introduce automated management for the management of water resources in Ararat Valley and installation of flow meters in the fish farms in the first stage.
Only 2.5% of the water on the earth is freshwater, out of which 98.8% is ice and groundwater. Only less than 0.3% of all freshwater can be found in the rivers, lakes and atmosphere. A part of this freshwater is stored in Lake Sevan located at 1900 m above sea level.
For the purpose of the preservation of Lake Sevan, the increase in its level and safe use, in 2001 RA National Assembly adopted two laws - RA Law 'On Lake Sevan' and RA Law 'On Approving Annual and Complex Programs for Recovery, Conservation, Reproduction and Use of Lake Sevan Ecosystem'. This law lays down an increase of Lake Sevan level by 6.5 meters in 30 years by increasing water volume by 8.8 billion cum. The milestone is the lake level of 1903.5 ha. In order to increase water volumes in the lake 300 million cum water should be ensured by Arpa-Sevan aqueduct and 165 million cum water by Vorotan-Arpa hydro structure. The annual lake level increase is planned by 21.6 cm.
Vorotan-Arpa hydro structure hasn't operated at all: in 2012-2016, 577.2 million cum water flew into Lake Sevan through Arpa-Sevan aqueduct, which is less by 922.8 million cum than the planned figure - 1500.0 million cum. The lake level for the same time period has increased by annually 7.2 cm, on average, which is less than the statutory limit by 0.72 m. As of 22 March 2018, the lake level made up 1900.47 m.
Illegal Water Use, Water Loss
According to ‘Concept Paper on Introduction of Water-Saving Technologies’ draft, 154,8 thousand out of 208.3 thousand ha of existing irrigable land areas in Armenia is the agricultural land area, which is not completely irrigated because on inefficient use of water resources – around 50% loss of irrigation water. According to the official data, around 574 business entities are operating in Armenia without any water use permit.
18:38 March 22, 2018