Springs in Yeghegis Dried out: Climate Resilience Measures Urgent Matter of Day

Springs in Yeghegis Dried out: Climate Resilience Measures Urgent Matter of Day

Yeghegis community is located in the northeastern part of Vayots Dzor and includes 16 settlements. Almost all settlements of the community are located along the Yeghegis River and its tributaries, which is due to the direct dependence of the activities of the local population on the condition of the rivers. The community has rich nature, fauna, historical and cultural monuments, which contributes to the development of tourism. The residents of the community use firewood, which puts a lot of pressure on the forest. Illegal forest use and grazing are common.

Yeghegis is vulnerable in terms of climate, which negatively affects the income of the residents engaged in agriculture. It is often observed that natural springs and river flows feeding from them lack water or are completely dry. Droughts are frequent, resulting in crop losses. Forest and grassland fires cause material and human losses. In the community, crop loss due to hail was more than 50 percent in the past years.

EcoLur team held a meeting with active residents of Yeghegis community and representatives of the municipality to discuss the project of the information module developed by EcoLur "Problems and proposed measures of implementation of green energy and climate resilience policy in Yeghegis community, Vayots Dzor Region, Armenia". The purpose of the document is to contribute to the full involvement of the community and the protection of its interests in the decision-making process regarding state policies in the climate and energy sectors, to support the social, ecological and economic development of the community to achieve climate justice and reduce energy poverty.

"This document will serve as a basis for recommendations in order to introduce or strengthen the social-environmental component in energy and climate policies," Victoria Burnazyan, Deputy President of "EcoLur" Informational NGO outlined.

"We have analyzed the problems related to the community's land and water resources, hydropower, forest, garbage collection, as well as financial opportunities and development programs," Inga Zarafyan, President of “EcoLur” Informational NGO noted.

"A very good analysis has been done in the module, and the recommendations are important to me, each of which can become a project for the community," Ruzan Ghazaryan, President of  "Work and Homeland Territorial Development" NGO, noted.

Alternative Energy and SHPPs

There are currently 17 HPPs operating on the Yeghegis River and its tributaries, 15 of which are located in the administrative area of e Yeghegis community. As of January 1, 2023, 5 more licenses have been issued for electricity production. The load of the Yeghegis River flow through derivation pipes makes up 51.46%, and in case of operation of the planned HPPs, it will reach 76.69%, which is prohibited by RA Water Code.

The pressure of SHPPs on the Yeghegis River and its tributaries has become a major factor affecting socio-economic development, living conditions and livelihood.

"There is not a free centimeter on Yeghegis river. The springs have dried up, which is the consequence of HPPs," Administrative Head of Yeghegis settlement Ashot Harutyunyan said.

"Now we have provided our water resources to the HPPs, but the state should take it under its control, because it is the state's resource," Yeghegis Community Head Artur Stepanyan said.

In order to reduce energy poverty, EcoLur experts suggested introducing low-cost energy technologies so that the community could abandon easily available firewood. Joining the "Covenant of Mayors" of the European Union can contribute to this.

During the meeting, recommendations were collected on climate change adaptation, green energy and green job creation, and sustainable community development.
"EcoLur" Informational NGO’s module entitled "Problems and measures of implementation of "green" energy and climate resilience policy in Yeghegis community, Vayots Dzor Region, Armenia" was developed with the funding of "EU4Climate" regional program with the support of the UNDP/GEF "Impacted communities and civil society organizations as participants in the introduction of socio-ecological culture in the energy and climate change policies of Armenia" Small Grants Programme.

August 16, 2023 at 14:48