On 21 June 2016 'EcoLur' Informational NGO summed up “Supporting reforms in the sector of small hydro power plants through enabling a dialogue between civil society and the Ministry of Nature Protection for sustainable use of river ecosystems” supported by UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme" in the partnership with the Ministry of Nature Protection.
The event was participated by the representatives of the National Assembly, Nature Protection Ministry, Energy and Natural Resources, Emergency State Ministry, Territorial Management and Development Ministry, Urban Development Ministry, Public Service Regulatory Committee, SHPPs, scientific institutions, NGOs, and mass media.
The program results were resented by Inga Zarafyan, President of “EcoLur” NGO. She mentioned that in the frames of the program the expert group monitored 87 SHPPs constructed on 48 rivers and 3 water springs in Syunik, Vayots Dzor, Aragatsotn, Kotayq, Gegharkounik, Tavush, Shirak and Lori Regions.
As a result, the following problems were detected:
· incorrect project hydroeconomic estimates,
· not ensuring environmental flow,
· functional incompliance of fish passways and fish-protecting nets and negative shifts in fish biodiversity and quantitative indicators of local fish species,
· insufficient level of SHPP productivity,
· formation of SHPP cascades without cumulative effects assessment.
Incorrect project hydroeconomic estimates
· Reliable hydrological data on the river are missing, which leads to incorrect hydroeconomic estimates. Estimates are mainly calculated based on average monthly yields, when it's more expedient for the SHPPs to use average daily yields.
· A number of SHPPs don't ensure their projected capacities because of hydroeconomic estimates based on incorrect hydrological data.
Not ensuring environmental flow
· All the examined SHPPs don't have environmental flow management system, which would enable controlling to what extent the business entity complies with the requirement to adhere to amount set for environmental flow in the water usage permit. SHPPs don't have any water-measuring device to record the environmental flow, which should have been installed in the outlet section of the environmental flow.
· The amount of the environmental flow set in the water usage permits of SHPPs doesn't ensure the balance and biodiversity of river ecosystem.
· Violations have been recorded in a number of SHPPs ensuring environmental flow through fish passways. Particularly, the entrances of the fish passways are blocked with different constructions, which hinder the passage of the environmental flow into the internal canal pound.
Functional incompliance of fish passways and fish-protecting nets and negative shifts in fish biodiversity and quantitative indicators of local fish species
· The analysis of the types and structural solutions of SHPP fish passways constructed on the riverbeds flowing through Armenia shows that the essential part of the fish passways doesn’t comply with the biological needs and physical capacities of the fish species living in those rivers and performing regular migrations. In this sense, most of them are ends in themselves and don’t comply with the contemporary requirements of such structures, which are the main reasons for their improper functioning.
· Examined SHPPs mainly don’t have a fish-protecting net. Only garbage-collectors are designed.
· There are garbage collectors, that may serve the function of a fish-protecting net.
Insufficient Level of SHPP Productivity
· Monitoring results show the real production of SHPP productivity doesn’t comply with the projected production. The main causes of low productivity are as follows: lack of water in the rivers, incorrect hydroeconomic estimates, low ECE and poor-quality equipment. As a result, SHPP takes more water for electricity production that it’s set in the water usage permit or entirely stops in low-water months.
Formation of SHPP cascades Cumulative Effects Assessment
· The examination of SHPPs showed there are SHPP cascades available on the rivers. The cumulative effect on the river ecosystem is also not assessed.
· In the frames of the project the road overload with SHPPs was calculated taking into consideration the correlation of aggregate length of SHPP derivation with river length.
· The project presents those rivers overloaded with SHPPs, 30% of their length is piped or can be piped because of newly constructed SHPPs.
SHPP Impact on Specially Protected Areas of Nature and Forest Areas
· The monitoring showed that SHPPs have been constructed in the buffer zones of “Khosrov Forest”, “Shikahogh” state reserves, “Sevan”, “Dilijan”, “Arevik” national park areas, “Jermuk Hydrological Reserve”, “Yeghegnadzor”, “Getik”, “Arjatkhleni” and “Ijevan” reserves and in Dsegh and Gugarq forestry enterprises.
· SHPP impact on the ecosystems of these areas is not assessed. Since 2012 bill on making amendments to RA Law “On Lake Sevan” (Պ-010-21.06.2012-ԳԲ-010/0), which bans the construction of SHPPs on the rivers flowing into Lake Sevan is on the agenda of the National Assembly, but it hasn’t been selected for voting so far.
June 22, 2016 at 18:11