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Villagers’ Fears on New Water Pipe Program are Unfounded: Program Coordinator

Moving water from the community of Garni in Kotayk marz (province) to 12 village communities in Ararat marz is a state program, which is funded by the World Bank and Armenia's state budget, and is one of 7 programs to create a gravitational irrigation system, ArmHydroEnergyProject CJSC Director Mesrop Khachatryan informed Epress.am. According to him, it's important to migrate to a system run by gravitation, as it will ensure cheap irrigation. One of these programs will ensure gravitational irrigation in Baghramyan and Kanaker.

"Most of these villages in Ararat marz are not irrigated; the other part, as they're upland require large amounts of energy consumption for irrigation. With this program, we will irrigate 12,000-hectare orchards. To count, let me say that one pump costs 10 million [Armenian] drams of electricity. Imagine how much more expensive irrigation will be, if the price of electricity goes up from August 1," said Khachatryan. 

Asked whether after the creation of the gravitational system, the irrigation tax will be reduced, Khachatryan said the expenses of the gravitational system first have to be recovered.

Recall, Garni residents oppose water being routed from their village, since, in their opinion, the approximately 40 orchards surrounding Azat River will dry up, the river will empty, and the fauna will disappear.

According to Khachatryan, who designed the program, such suspicions are "not professional," since when such programs are developed, all possible environmental risks are taken into account.

According to him, taken from Azat River will be only "excessive water," which is about 400–900 liters of water per second, depending on the season. However, according to Garni inhabitants, at least 1,200 liters of water must be transported through pipes measuring 820 cm in diameter in order for it to flow freely (i.e. without the use of pumps).

Khachatryan said he cannot answer questions about costs. Asked whether Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan's land will also be irrigated with water from this pipe, the ArmHydroEnergyProject CJSC director said: "Well, it's their marz; it's possible for one of his relatives to have land in that 12,000 hectares, but no such thing is proven through [official] documents."