USAID and USGS achieve significant milestone in their collaboration targeted at strengthening groundwater management capacities for Armenia. On August 29-30, the US USGS Dakota team provided a webinar to Armenian specialists on the hydrogeologic framework, the groundwater management options and next steps toward development of the groundwater-flow model for the Ararat Artesian Basin. Participants of the webinar were the representatives of the ASPIRED Project, Environmental Monitoring and Information Center and Water Resources Management Agency of the Ministry of Nature Protection, and Yerevan State University.

The webinar was conducted as part of a joint project between USAID and USGS on strengthening the groundwater management capacity in Armenia’s Ararat Valley which is aimed at summarizing the groundwater resources, characterizing the hydrogeologic framework and conditions of groundwater resources in the Ararat valley and building the in-country technical expertise for a more effective management of the groundwater resources. In February-March 2016, the UGSG team visited Armenia to meet with the stakeholders, collect in-country data and conduct the training for the local specialists on well inventory and water quality sampling protocols.

The USGS experts made a detailed presentation of the hydrogeologic framework of the Ararat Artesian Basin and the methodologies used to develop the complex hydrogeologic structure of the area using sophisticated tools ASPIRED team contributed vast amount of data to USGS, including available geologic maps, lithologic data from wells, well records and logs, groundwater-level measurements and other information collected and complied by the ASPIRED Project through the 2016 inventory of wells, natural springs and fish farms. As noted by Janet Carter, Deputy Director for Studies of USGS Dakota Water Science Center, “Data from inventory is phenomenal in a sense of detailed description of groundwater levels and groundwater use in the Ararat Valley.” “We were able to use most of the datasets provided by the Armenian partners in our study, which is exceptional. For other countries we would be able using from 2 to 8% of datasets available,” Joshua Valder, Hydrologist, Groundwater Specialist of the USGS Dakota Water Science Center said.

The hydrogeologic framework report, which is a result of incredible effort invested by the USGS Dakota Water Science Center, will be published online in an open access. It is the first step towards developing the groundwater-flow model of the Ararat Valley, which is a critical tool for more informed management decisions on strategic groundwater resources.