On February 16, the Water Resources Management Agency (WRMA) of the Ministry of Nature Protection conducted the working meeting with the fish-farming sector representatives to introduce the automated online system for the centralized monitoring of the groundwater use. Piloted with support of the USAID Advanced Science and Partnership for Integrated Resource Development (ASPIRED) Project and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Armenia, the new online system will be installed at 20 water use points in the fisheries of the Ararat Valley. This project is included into the list of environmental measures planned under the Government’s Program of Priorities for 2017.
The head of the WRMA specified that fish farms enrolled into the pilot project will not bear any costs associated with the installation and maintenance of the system till the end of the ASPIRED Project. In the future, all fish farms will be obliged to install the online automated systems at their water use points. The meeting was to encourage the dialogue between the Government and the business representatives. It gave opportunity for the owners of the fish farms to express their concern over the new regulatory measure, particularly future costs to be incurred by the businesses. Discussions also unveiled facts of large-scale corruption during the issuance of water use permits in the past.
The newly introduced automated online system will provide the real-time data on actual water abstraction from a particular water use point, immediately revealing cases of over-abstraction. On the other hand, the WRMA can revise the water use permits for those fisheries where the actual consumption will be reportedly below the permitted level. The installation of the online automated system is intended to reduce corruption risks and strengthen the monitoring over the groundwater use in the Ararat Valley.