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Armenian Farmers Protest Lack of Irrigation Water

Due to the extreme drought this year, residents of some villages of Armenia’s Ararat region have for months been deprived of the opportunity to water their orchards. As a result, the villagers have lost their harvest and consequently any hope they had for decent income. The drought, however, has only affected “ordinary villagers,” who gathered today outside the Armenian government to protest against the fact that “those who have a strong back are able to get sufficient water supply.”

“They tell to the people that there’s a drought, but this drought has affected neither the governor nor the former and current village heads who are able to water their 50-hectare orchards. The water disappears only when it comes to the villagers,” a resident of the village of Goravan, Petik Gulgulyan, complained.

Gulgulyan has been unable to water his orchard for over a month. “When there is any water, they tell us to wait for our turn. They give a 100-liter pump to the former head of the water utility to water his crops, while we are forced to wait for ‘our turn.’” The entire village of Goravan, which has nearly 500 households, is provided with only 20 tons of water, while “those who have a strong back get 100 tons,” the villager added.

Representatives of the State Water Management Committee have told the villagers to be patient and wait until a water reservoir is constructed in the area; “They suggest that we abandon our gardens and wait until a reservoir is constructed in 4 years. After all, 4 years is nothing, right?”

An Epress.am correspondent contacted the head of the Water Resources Management Agency, Artur Ghazaryan, for clarifications: “Goravan villagers have been constantly complaining this year, and they don’t even have an idea what they complain about. There is an area in Goravan where our channel does not pass. They should water this area with river water, which, however, does not reach those places this year due to the drought.”

Nevertheless, according to Ghazaryan, the village does get water, and “which is evenly distributed among the villagers.”

“The person responsible for water distribution is a resident of their village, and we follow that the water is distributed properly. It just happens that these villagers complain even when there is nothing to complain about,” the official charged.