Construction of small hydroelectric power plants (SHPPs) is planned on the water artery of Shikahogh reserve - on the Tsav (Basuta) river and its tributary Mazra, as the residents of Tsav settlement of Kapan enlarged community in Syunik Region informed EcoLur. According to them, "Lesoma" OJSC plans to build one of the small hydropower plants on the Tsav River, which has been operating "Tsav" SHPP built on the Tsav River since 2010. Residents oppose the construction of a new SHPP on the Tsav River, given the existing SHPP. "We take irrigation and drinking water from the Tsav River. Any intervention leads to great damage, great disaster.
Water scarcity is very much felt, the total amount of water, the water sources are drying up. The construction of a new SHPP will further reduce the amount of water, the villagers will suffer a lot, it will have an adverse impact on the river ecosystem. We have brown trout in the river. The fauna and flora will be damaged," Seyran Zakaryan, the administrative representative of Tsav Village, said in his conversation with EcoLur.
According to the residents, "Lesoma" OJSC has acquired community-owned agricultural lands of the village for the construction of SHPP buildings in the future. "We are an enlarged community. I do not have any documents, they are all in Kapan municipality. "I have information that the status of those lands of agricultural significance is currently being changed," Seyran Zakaryan said.
The construction of the second SHPP is planned on the Mazra tributary of the Tsav River. Recently, according to the residents, Senik Julhakyan, a representative of the company developing the construction of a new SHPP (the residents did not know the name of the company), and representatives of Kapan Water Using Company and those of Environment Ministry visited Tsav to study the site. The residents of Tsav told when Senik Julhakyan heard the negative reaction of the administrative head of the village and the residents on the construction of the SHPP, he promised to solve a number of social problems and make investments in Tsav. However, the attitude of the residents has not changed.
The area of Shikahogh Reserve is located within the borders of Tsav village, as well as within the borders of the villages of Shikahogh, Srashen and Nerkin Hand. The activities of the local population are restricted with the strict protection regime of the reserve.
"The villagers are between two stones. On the one hand, they forbid us to enter the forest, even to bring dry wood. But at the same time they want a SHPP to be built on the river in the reserve area. SHPPs cannot be built on the river flowing through the reserve. The river is very important for the microclimate and biodiversity in the reserve. The resource must be preserved, birds and reptiles live around it," Arsen Aghajanyan, a resident of Tsav, said.
It should be noted that the list of licenses issued for the construction and operation of small hydropower plants by the Public Services Regulatory Commission does not contain information on the construction of a new small hydropower plant on the Mazra or Tsavi as of April 1, 2020.
One of the goals of Shikahogh Reserve was to ensure the normal development of the aquatic and terrestrial natural ecosystems of Tsav and Shikahogh River Basins, which could be hampered by the construction of small hydropower plants. According to Article 16 of RA Law on Specially Protected Areas, it is prohibited, in particular, in the territory of the state reserve:
• Use of water resources through water systems and any activities that violate the water regime;
• Construction and operation of economic and residential facilities, roads, pipelines, power lines and other means of communication;
• Violation of the living conditions of flora and fauna habitats.
Article 30.1 of RA Water Code also rejects the applications of water use permits for the construction of small HPPs, if they are intended to be built in the protection zones of specially protected areas.
13:32 July 14, 2020