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Official News

Friday, 19 January 2018

Karen Karapetyan Gets Acquainted with State Water Management Committee’s Activities








Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan visited the State Water Management Committee of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources to get acquainted with the activities and priorities completed in 2017, as well as the tasks set for 2018.

Committee Chairman Arsen Harutyunyan reported that irrigated land increased by 8,930 hectares or 9.2% in 2017 as compared to 2016, reaching a total of 97, 470 hectares. He noted that 2017 was one of the worst in the last century, while 2016 was one of the best years in terms of water scarcity.

Mr Harutyunyan emphasized that in the face of a worst-case scenario, 28% or 1,130 million cubic meters’ increase in water supply was ensured in 2017, 5130 cubic meters were taken up to 6001 cubic meters or each hectare of irrigated land,. In 2017, proceeds increased by 1,420 billion drams as compared to 2016, with the water fee collection standing at 380 million drams.

According to the chairman of the committee, collection in 2017 amounted to 4 billion 150 million drams, which is the largest ever amount recorded by the Committee. In terms of mechanical water production, 2017 was similar to the draught-hit 2014, with 0.11 kW spent on the production of 1m3 of mechanical water.

In response to Prime Minister’s question, the responsible Committee officials noted that in 2018 the main task is to increase the coverage of irrigated land up to 110,000 hectares. “I suggest as follows. Do not set such targets as will allow you overrun it by 102 percent. Make 92 or 87 percent, but set higher targets. Before you start the season clearly identify each WUA’s problems, WUA directors should know how much this year’s contract should be. Water loss should be standardized, for which each WUA should have its own standard; water meters should allow access and exit. In this regard, it is necessary to maximize the use of grants, WUAs should be separated, and their configuration should allow for accurate evaluations in terms of management. The task is not an easy one, but there is nothing unsolvable in this world. So, we expect you to submit an action plan. We will not develop agriculture if we do not reform the WUA system,” Karen Karapetyan emphasized.

It was reported that in order to improve the water metering system, 2100 water meters shall be introduced. “They should be introduced step-by-step. It is clear that in the end, we must cover up the whole field of registration,” the Prime Minister said.

Touching upon the operation of pumping stations, the Head of Government suggested considering the possibility of handing over some of them to the private sector. “You must clearly define the task in the water management system. You should be facing an emergency situation in the run-up to the agricultural season. Here, we are in for a revolution. By the end of the year, you should have a plan as to what the WUAs will look like in the future,” Karen Karapetyan said.

It was reported that already there are investors interested in pumping stations. Arsen Harutyunyan also reported that the Committee has developed two pilot projects for introducing drip irrigation systems on an area of 500 hectares: one in Baghramyan-Norakert section and the other - in the vicinity of the Vedi reservoir. As he said, the outcome will be immediately visible, and farmers will proceed step by step.
The Prime Minister instructed to cooperate closely with the Ministry of Agriculture. Speaking about reservoir construction, Karen Karapetyan set a task to build 2-3 reservoirs in the State-private sector format in 2018.
Reference was made to adequate water supply and sanitation services in 579 settlements, not being serviced by a specialized operator. Addressing the management of Veolia Jur, Prime Minister Karapetyan emphasized that the Government is ready to discuss flexible proposals. The Premier offered the company to make relevant analyses within a short period of time, to develop an appropriate business model and submit it for discussion.

Issues related to the management of water resources, technical condition of the stations, repair works, regulation of water reservoirs' issues and water loss reduction were also discussed. It was reported that some 25 billion dram-worth projects will be implemented in the water management system this year.

Summing up the meeting, Karen Karapetyan underscored: “I consider that in 2017 the Committee was able to identify and diagnose the problems, get a definitive and accurate idea of challenges, as well as to provide for realistic management amid extreme conditions, which gives you the opportunity to drastically change the quality of management in 2018.”
 

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