On 26 June “Supporting New Reforms in SHPP Sector through CSO-Government Dialogue" project coordinator Inga Zarafyan presented the outcomes of the project at UN Armenia. This project supported accomplishing SHPP databases, which currently includes the data of 125 SHPPs.
Inga Zarafyan noted that an SHPP Multi-Stakeholder Council has been established for the institutional reforms of the sector with the involvement of the representatives of RA state bodies, international organizations, NGOs, and businesses. It has been proposed to make the SHPP Multi-Stakeholder Council adjunct to RA Deputy Prime Minister to ensure the continuity of the council activities. The competences of the council are to advance reforms in SHPP-sector policy, legislative and institutional reforms and to make proposals on the regulation of sector-related problems.
Two draft laws, two draft governmental resolutions and the draft charter of the SHPP Multi-Stakeholder Council have been developed for the purpose of legislative reforms. Project proposals have been taken into consideration in four legal acts and bylaws developed by the Armenian Government.
Inga Zarafyan noted that SHPP sector became transparent as a result of this project: only in the frames of the second project, 150 materials and videos were published on www.ecolur.org on SHPP monitoring, social problems, legislative reforms.
Out of detected problems Inga Zarafyan highlighted:
· SHPPs from 0 to 1 MW capacity don't undergo environmental impact assessment, though their activities cause essential damage to river ecosystem,
· Insufficiency of SHPP operation transparency and supervision mechanisms,
· Absence of banned zones for SHPP construction, construction of SHPPs in water flow formation zones and specifically protected areas of nature,
· Incorrect hydroeconomic estimates in the project,
· Not ensuring the environmental flow and absence of control over the environmental flow,
· Functional incompliance of fish passways and fish-protecting nets, negative changes in the quantitative indicators of fish biodiversity and local fish species,
· Insufficient level fo SHPP productivity and low-quality equipment,
· Absence of criteria and requirements required for equipment,
· Formation of SHPP cascades without assessment of cumulative effect,
· High threshold of capacity inadequate to SHPP descriptions – 30 MW,
· Numerous tree felling during SHPP construction and non-implementation of adequate tree planting,
· Detected SHPPs, which are constructed in water flow formation zone, which contradicts the requirements of the governmental resolution N 64-N dated on 20 January 2005 on the preservation of ecosystem sanitary, flow formation, underground water preservation.
· There are rivers, 70% of which is piped.
As a result of the project, the following documents have been developed:
· Draft law “On Making Amendments and Supplements to RA Water Code”, which proposes to have a new definition of environmental flow due to which the rational use of water resources will be ensured in SHPP operation.
· Draft law “On Making Amendments and Supplements to RA Code on Administrative Offences”, which envisages strict fines for not adhering to the preservation of environmental flow.
· Draft governmental resolution "On Approving Form of SHPP Environmental Passports and Guide of Provision", which aims to increase SHPP accountability, to introduce internal supervision (self-control) and mechanisms promoting SHPP operation.
· Draft governmental resolution “On Making Amendments and Supplements to RA Governmental Resolution № 1343-N dated on 19 October 2017 “On Annulling RA Governmental Resolutions № 1680-N dated on 20 December 2012 and № 519-N “On Approving Checklists of Risk-based Inspections Carried out by Nature Protection and Soil Inspection Body of RA Nature Protection Ministry of RA””, which aims to establish control and to ensure effective environmental control in all the stages of SHPP construction and operation.
The project coordinator noted that on 1 March 2018 the Armenian Government adopted the protocol resolution "On Establishing Criteria for Assessing Impact of SHPP Construction and Operation on Environment" (https://www.e-gov.am/protocols/item/876/), which includes the information of the databases on SHPP established in the frames of the project and the proposals of the expert group.
Based on the proposals of the expert group of the project, the draft protocol resolution of the Armenian Government “Zones and List of Rivers Banned for the Construction and Operation of Small Hydropower Plants” has been developed and put into circulation
( https://www.e-draft.am/projects/497/about), which sets the zones banned for the construction and operation of SHPPs.
Inga Zarafyan noted that the only SHPP out of 38 SHPPs, where the expert group didn't make any proposals is 'Seka' SHPP. This SHPP station has modern equipment installed, automated management system, while water intake is controlled via an online connection.
18:51 June 27, 2018