Information on Vorotan Hydrocascade Water Reservoir Unavailable: EcoLur Addressed Letter to Proper Bodies

Information on Vorotan Hydrocascade Water Reservoir Unavailable: EcoLur Addressed Letter to Proper Bodies

Information on Spandaryan, Shamb, Tatev, Tolors and Angeghakot reservoirs built for the operation of the Vorotan hydropower complex is not available to the general public. Data on the annual filling of these reservoirs, irrigation and water intake for hydropower purposes are not publicly available. The following information is also publicly not available: which works have been done to ensure the safe operation of the reservoirs, as well as that of the canals and water lines of "Spandaryan", "Shamb" and "Tatev" HPPs.

EcoLur has addressed a letter to RA Environment Minister Romanos Petrosyan, RA Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Gnel Sanosyan, RA Minister of Emergency Situations Andranik Piloyan, and Head of RA Nature Protection and Mining Inspection Body Hovhannes Martirosyan to obtain information on the filling of these reservoirs, the degree of problems and safety in them, the volume of water use of reservoirs for hydropower purposes, and the issues arising as a result.

The letter particularly says:

“Under the decision of RA Government №1496-A dated on November 21, 2013, the main part of the property complex of "Vorotan Hydroelectric Power Plant Complex" CJSC was alienated to American "Contour Global HydroCascade" CJSC. On August 12, 2015, the company and RA Government announced the completion of a transaction to acquire the assets of Vorotan Cascade for $ 180 million. Thus, the company received a license to operate three HPPs - "Spandaryan" (76 MW), "Shamb" (171 MW) and "Tatev" HPPs of Vorotan hydropower complex for 25 years. According to the information published in the press, the company is entitled to pledge the dams of Spandaryan, Shamb, Tatev, Tolors, and Angeghakot reservoirs built for the operation of the hydropower complex under the signed contract.

Data on the annual filling of these reservoirs, irrigation and water intake for hydropower purposes are not publicly available. The following information is also publicly not available: which works have been done to ensure the safe operation of the reservoirs, as well as that of the canals and water lines of "Spandaryan", "Shamb" and "Tatev" HPPs.

It should be noted that according to Southern Basin Management Plan for 2016-2021, Spandaryan, Tolors Reservoirs, "Spandaryan", "Shamb" and "Tatev" HPP canals and water line are listed among the hydraulic structures considered to be high risk in terms of accident hazard in this basin management area.

Under Article 6 of RA Law “On Freedom of Information, we would like to request to provide the following information:

To RA Environment Minister:

1. Why aren't the data on the filling of Spandaryan, Shamb, Tatev, Tolors, Angeghakot reservoirs published?

2. To what extent have Spandaryan, Shamb, Tatev, Tolors, Angeghakot reservoirs been filled during the last 5 years?

3.  According to the water use permits, how much water is taken from the above-mentioned reservoirs for Vorotan hydro complex? How much water is taken for irrigation?

4. Is there a decrease in the filling of these reservoirs due to climate change?

5. The issues of safe collection, storage, and neutralization of transformer oils of other types (wastes of hazard class 1-4) during the operation of hydropower plants have not been resolved. What steps is the ministry taking to resolve the issue?

6. Fish protection structures have not been installed in Angeghakot, Spandaryan, Shamb, Tolors reservoirs envisaged in Vorotan hydro-complex technical re-equipment environmental program. What steps is the ministry taking in terms of implementing fish protection measures in reservoirs?

To RA Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure

1. How much electricity has Vorotan hydro complex produced annually during the last 5 years?

2. According to Article 15 of RA Law on National Water Program, Spandaryan and Tolors Reservoirs are included in the list of water systems of special state significance. Has “Contour Global HydroCascade” CJSC pledged the dams of these reservoirs and whether it does not contradict RA legislation?

3. During the last 5 years, how much water has been drawn for irrigation through canals and water lines fed from the reservoirs under the jurisdiction of “Contour Global HydroCascade” CJSC?

4. To what extent has Syunik WUC carried out works in the field of cleaning canal irrigation systems in 2020-2021?

5. During the last 5 years, what social programs has "Contour Global HydroCascade" CJSC implemented in the affected settlements?

To RA Minister of Emergency Situations

1.  When was the last time the Ministry checked the safety of the dams of Spandaryan, Shamb, Tatev, Tolors, Angeghakot reservoirs, as well as the safety of the canals and water lines of the Vorotan hydropower plants?

2. Has the Ministry carried out a study of the technical condition of the above-mentioned reservoirs, assessed the seismic vulnerability of the reservoirs, and what results has it recorded?

3. Were flood warning systems, flood and landslide monitoring services installed under flood dams to provide continuous flood monitoring and analysis, and warn of their development?

To Head of RA Nature Protection and Mining Inspection Body

1. When was the last time the inspection body carried out an inspection at Vorotan hydro complex? What violations did it record?

2. Are inspections planned in Vorotan hydro complex in 2021?”

September 24, 2021 at 17:39