There are problems related to river ecosystems in the Republic of Armenia, which are the result of the overexploitation and waste of water resources. One of the main causes of this situation is SHPPs and the violations having happened in the course of their operations, as the RA Human Rights Defender records in his annual report for 2018.
The report includes the findings of “Supporting New Reforms in SHPP Sector through CSO-Government Dialogue" project implemented by EcoLur. Taking into consideration the situation in this sector and detected violations the Ombudsman is proposing to enhance the supervision over the operation of SHPPs. The summary of the findings of “Supporting New Reforms in SHPP Sector through CSO-Government Dialogue" project showed that SHPPs from 0 to 1 MW capacity don't undergo environmental impact assessment, though their activities cause essential damage to river ecosystem, there is insufficiency of SHPP operation transparency and supervision mechanisms, the banned zones for SHPP construction, construction of SHPPs in water flow formation zones and specifically protected areas of nature are absent, as well as · Not ensuring environmental flow is not ensured and the control over the environmental flow is absent.
In the course of 2018, certain measures have been taken to solve the problems existing in this sector and to improve the situation. So, according to the information submitted by RA Nature Protection Ministry, on 1 March 2018 the Armenian Government adopted the protocol resolution "On Establishing Criteria for Assessing Impact of SHPP Construction and Operation on Environment".
The governmental resolution N57 dated on 25 January 2018 laid down the new methodology for the calculation of the environmental flow. In August-September 2018, the employees of Water Resource Management Agency of RA Nature Protection Ministry carried out examination in all 188 SHPPs operating in the Republic of Armenia, as a result of which 170 violations have been detected, especially there were water-measuring devices missing in the SHPPs, the environmental flow was not adhered to and the fish-protecting structures and fish passways have been absent,” the Ombudsmen’s report said.
It should be mentioned that the continuation of “Supporting New Reforms in SHPP Sector through CSO-Government Dialogue" project is "Support to SHPP-relating reforms through the dialogue of public and RA Nature Protection Ministry for Sustainable Use of River Ecosystems” project: both projects have been implemented by EcoLur in partnership with RA Nature Protection Ministry with the support of UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme.
18:26 April 10, 2019