EcoLur has sent a letter to Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan where EcoLur informs about the launch of the operation of Public Environmental Court. The first court is devoted to the violation of the balance of groundwater reserves of the artesian basin in Ararat Valley. The letter says,
'Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
Upon the initiative of 'EcoLur' Informational NGO, the series of court proceedings of Public Environmental Court will launch in Armenia starting from 5 February 2019. The aim is to administer public justice over heavy environmental crimes having been left unpunished in Armenia so far and to send the verdict of the public court to the law enforcement bodies of Armenia to put them into process and to held liable the officials of the of the bodies having issued permits for the illegal and irresponsible operation of business entities.
The hearings of Public Environmental Court will be open, while the litigation will be covered by invited mass media.
The court hearing on 'The violation of the balance of groundwater reserves of the artesian basin in Ararat Valley' will be held at 'IBIS' Hotel (5/1 Northern Avenue) at 12:00 on 5 February 2019.
Over the recent 10-15 years, the balance of the water resources of Ararat Valley has been violated due to the ruthless, non-regulated and illegal use of groundwater resources the artesian basin in Ararat Valley. Ararat Valley has found itself in a disastrous situation. The surface of groundwater area with positive pressure in Ararat artesian basin has reduced three times – from 32,760 ha in 1983 to 10,706 ha in 2016 because of the adopted decisions and issued permits of the competent bodies in charge of the use of water resources and their conservation. 31 communities have partially or entirely got deprived of irrigation and drinking water in deep gushing wells. The mineralization of water resources has increased. Around 400,000 villagers face losing their opportunity to deal with agriculture. The additional water intakes out of Lake Sevan carried out in order to meet the decreasing water demand in Ararat Valley has already led to the deterioration of Lake Sevan.
The illegal consumption of groundwater resources in the artesian basin in Ararat Valley is an environmental crime, which has emerged as a result of illegal and irresponsible actions of certain officials: numerous articles of RA Water Code, RA Law 'On Main Provisions of National Water Policy' and RA Law 'On National Water Program' have been violated. Nevertheless, no one has been punished for this committed crime. The competent bodies liable for this situation are as follows: National Water Council adjunct to RA Prime Minister, RA Nature Protection Ministry, RA Agriculture Ministry, RA Water Committee, Ararat Municipality and Armavir Municipality.
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
We are applying to you requesting to ensure the participation of the relevant representatives of the competent bodies in charge of the management and use of groundwater resources of Ararat artesian basin in the court hearing so as the legal successors of the previous government can present their positions to the accusation thus ensuring the participation of the state in the regulation of this problem.'
16:29 January 22, 2019