Response of Environment Ministry to EcoLur's Enquiry on Overexploitation of Groundwater in Ararat Valley

Response of Environment Ministry to EcoLur's Enquiry on Overexploitation of Groundwater in Ararat Valley

RA Environment Ministry responded to the enquiry filed by “EcoLur” Informational NGO in regard with the overexploitation of groundwater resources. 

In her letter N4/07.214678 dated on December 20, Deputy Minister Gayane Gabrielyan presented the data on water abstraction from the groundwater basin in Ararat Valley, the studies conducted, and the legal regulations aimed at preventing water overexploitation.

From 2017 to now, 10 wells have been liquidated, 91 have been preserved, and 210 deep wells have been put into valve mode, as a result of which 10201/sec of groundwater has been saved.

As of December 2021, according to the water use permits, 760713,775 thousand cubic meters/year of water intake was carried out for fish farming from the underground water basin in Ararat Valley, out of which 623547,387 thousand cubic meters per year in Ararat Region and 137166,388 thousand cubic meters per year in Armavir Region. 179965.61 thousand cubic meters/year of water was taken for irrigation, out of which 85627.79 thousand cubic meters/year in Ararat Region and 94337.82 thousand cubic meters/year in Armavir Region.

17545,795 thousand cubic meters/year of water was taken for the operation of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant.

Using 3D model of Ararat Valley Groundwater Basin, USAID GATO estimates that as of 2016 the total usable resource of Ararat Valley groundwater constitutes $ 926.73 million m/year or 29.39 m/s, and that value is more than 15% less than the annual allowable groundwater intake of 1,094.4 million m2 approved by State Committee for Resources in 1984, as defined by Law on National Water Program adopted in 2015, which is also related to climate change.

1873 deep wells were studied (1217 exploited out of 1873 wells), out of which 780 were in Ararat (522 exploited) and 1093 in Armavir Regions (695 exploited).

 Based on the work done, proposals were submitted to the Prime Minister's Office for obtaining water use permits for the operation of deep wells in the communities, as well as for equipping the deep wells with valves and water meters.

"As a result of the studies carried out in Ararat Valley, 86 petitions have been submitted to Environmental Inspection Body for violation of the conditions of illegal water intake and water use permits," the reply letter says.

The draft law "On Making Amendments to Water Code of the Republic of Armenia" was developed and submitted to Prime Minister's Office, which envisages a ban on issuing new water use permits through new wells in the Ararat Valley (Ararat and Armavir Regions) and through existing wells for fishery purposes.

Environment Ministry provided the analysis of forecasts of changes in the values ​​of natural surface water flow in Ararat Valley, as well as those of air temperature, precipitation and hydrological observatories.

December 24, 2021 at 10:58