The construction works of Qaghtsrashen gravity irrigation system are in progress: in Garni community residents' opinions, the amended version of the project is also inefficient. During EcoLur's visit to Garni Garni Residents mentioned that the water of the Azat River is not sufficient to irrigate their land areas, Azat reservoir is not full, besides, one of the main aims of the project fails – to save electricity, as a pumping station will operate instead of the gravity system.
It should be mentioned that the Qaghtsrashen gravity irrigation system plans to take water from the Azat River in Ararat Region to Aygestan, Berdik, Getazat, Deghdzout, Hnaberd, Mrganush, Narek, Nerqin Dvin, Norashen, Vardashen, Verin Dvin and Qaghtsrashen communities for the irrigation purposes.
In the initial version of the project it was planned to carry out water intake from the middle reach of the Azat River. Nevertheless, Garni residents opposed to such an approach, as they would get deprived of irrigation water and Garni Gorge would turn into a desert.
Due to Garni residents' fight, the State Committee on Water Industry amended the project transferring the water intake point to the area of Geghadir-Hatsavan pumping station. An electricity-operating pumping station will work for the water intake: project costs US $ 10.4 million.
Garni residents are proposing to use natural resources effectively and carry out water intake using solar energy generated from solar stations.
'The project already doesn't ensure gravity irrigation and water shall be pumped: Isn't is more reasonable to get cheap electricity by constructing solar stations: we do find it more profitable,' Garni community resident Arusyak Ayvazyan said.
'The same amount of money can be invested to produce solar energy and to solve the same problem in the better way,' another Garni resident mentioned.
'The problem is, first of all, an environmental problem, as if this project will be implemented beneath our temple, even we naked eyes we can see that the water will decrease here, which will result in serious environmental problems,' Garni community head Aharon Sahakyan and added, 'The same pumping station can be operated with the energy received from the solar stations. Besides, it requires fewer costs and doesn't cause environmental problems.'
'I don't agree with taking away water in our Garni: it will result in the loss of its picturesque view. Tourists come here to Garni and admire it. We experience a lack of water, now it's May, but we still haven't irrigated our land areas. Let Garni residents leave alone,' the locals complained.
More details in the video.
16:23 May 17, 2017