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Where Did $19 Million Go? Water Supply Problem in Armenian Vanadzor Still Unsolved

“Lori Water and Sewerage” CJSC which has taken a loan of $19 million from KfW, a German government-owned development bank, for a nearly complete replacement of the water supply network in the Armenian city of Vanadzor has done the work poorly, city residents claim. The residents have voiced their dissatisfaction at the last two extraordinary sittings of the Vanadzor Council of Elders, and eight members of the Council proposed to turn over the issue to the Armenian Prime Minister since the RA government had acted as guarantor of the loan.

The Council of Elders decided to address a letter to the government: the draft, in particular, said: “The number of accidents in the new network was not reduced, the quality of the water has not improved, the residents' alerts are not answered to in time, accident elimination activities are performed poorly and out of time, and most importantly, road repairs after the replacement of water supply pipes have been done in poor quality.”

Vanadzor mayor Samvel Darbinyan spoke against this letter; first, he proposed to discuss the issue with interested parties. Meanwhile, he added the final decision belonged to the Council of Elders. The draft letter was adopted by a majority vote of the Council members; however, two days later, on August 26, the Council convened an extraordinary meeting and annulled the decision. 

In a conversation with Epress.am, Menua Brutyan, President of “Lori Citizens' Union” NGO expressed his displeasure over the annulment of the decision.

“If the issue had not reached a boiling point, we could have gone the way of research, but it's too late now. The appeal to the government is only one of many ways. There is, among others, the option of organizing mass protests or filing a lawsuit. Anyhow, the appeal to the Prime Minister was a step forward,” Brutyan said. 

The water issue, he stated, was especially serious in neighborhoods where water outages can sometimes last for several days. The residents, according to Brutyan, have even had to apply to the Public Services Regulatory Commission with a request to send drinking water to their districts. In some of the areas of the city, he added, the roads are still impassable because of borrow pits.