On 17 March the residents of Aragats Village in Aparan Community held a protest demonstration and blocked Yerevan-Vanadzor interstate road demanding to stop the operation of SHPPs constructed on the Gegharot River. As the residents claim, the quality of the river water has been changed after the construction of the SHPPs while they irrigate their land areas with this water. The following SHPPs are constructed on the Gegharot River: “Gegharot” SHPP operated by “El-Kas” LLC and “Aragats-1” SHPP operated by “Vacuflo” LLC.
After the protest demonstration, the operation of SHPPs is stopped – the local authorities and companies operating the SHPPs haven’t reached a common agreement yet. “There is an initial agreement for the SHPPs not to work for more 5 days,” Aparan Community Head Karen Yeghiazaryan said in his interview with EcoLur.
“The villagers are not demanding any compensation or something else from the SHPPs: they just say the SHPPs should not work, that’s it. I always support the people – I will do as they decide,” he said.
According to Aparan Community Head, the companies operating SHPPs have sent the water for expert assessment. In 2015, independent experts Seyran Minasyan and Arevik Hayrapetyan carried out eco-chemical analysis of the upper and middle current of the Gegharot River. According to their examination, the SHPPs operating on the river have a significant effect on the quality of the river water. The concentrations of a number of elements in the water of the observation sites located downwards the SHPPs exceed the concentrations in the water of the observation sites upwards the river https://ecolur.org/hy/news/
In their turn, “El-Kas” and “Vacuflo” LLCs operating these SHPPs relate the changes in the quality of the river water to the quake in 1988, accuse the local authorities of the protest demonstrations and are going to apply to law enforcement bodies. The companies are preparing materials to be submitted to RA Police and RA Chief Prosecutor’s Office.
It should be mentioned that the SHPPs are constructed and operated not on the bases of issued water use permits but based on the positive opinions of “Environmental Impact Expert Assessment” SCNO. In its turn, the expert assessment center considers the documents submitted by the companies where all possible risks should have been described in the EIA section. It should be added that in 2014 the specialists of “Seismic Protection Service” Agency of RA Ministry of Emergency States examined and came to the conclusion that the change in the color of the Gegharot River is an environmental problem. The hydrogeological state of the river has been disturbed after the construction of the SHPPs https://www.ecolur.org/hy/
EcoLur has carried out monitoring in “Gegharot” and “Aragats-1” SHPPs, and the findings are available at:
17:15 March 19, 2019