Water is the life’s most basic necessity. In the Armenian Ararat Valley nearly 30 communities face the shortage of drinking and irrigation water. Thanks to the USAID support, 3200 residents of the community of Aratashen have access to clean drinking water all day round.
The USAID’s ASPIRED (Advanced Science and Partnerships for Integrated Resource Development) Project implemented large-scale infrastructure improvements in this community: installation of the new pumping station, replacement of 10 km corroded piping and introduction of the consumption-based metering system. Water is pumped from the artesian well and delivered to the resident after the treatment. It’s safe for drinking and domestic use.
To the question whether they are pleased with the project results, Nvard Khachatryan, the Director of the village kindergarten, says: “It is such a big relief for us to have water all day round. You only imagine how much water the kindergarten uses for cooking, washing and cleaning on a daily basis. In the past, we used to store water in the big buckets to be able to cover our needs.”
Aratashen village has been successfully operating the new water supply system since June 2019. The results for July-September 2019 revealed the village spent almost three times less electricity and money on pumping as compared to the same period of 2018 – 727,779 and 2.2 mln drams, respectively. The village mayor admitted they had to operate three pumps in the past, still being unable to ensure round-the-clock water supply in their village. The figures indicate there was twice as much water supplied through the network than now due to tremendous losses and inefficiency of the system.
“You can’t even compare it with the past,” Lena Yegoryan, a housewife from Aratashen, remarks. “Before, we had water just for a couple of hours every other day. Of course, we are ready pay now since water is always available.”
The village significantly improved payment rate of water bills by the residents, including collection of old debts in the amount of 1.5 mln Armenian drams. From July to September 2019, the village has earned almost 3 mln. drams for their local budget. As a result, the village could install additional 1800 meters of pipes to deliver water to the remaining three streets with 47 houses.
Reliable and safe drinking water supply was achieved in Aratashen due to the concerted effort of USAID’s ASPIRED and PURE Water (Participatory Utilization and Resource Efficiency of Water) Projects, and the commitment of the community leadership to fulfill their part of the project. Rural projects are sustainable given the local communities have the sense of ownership for maintaining the installed infrastructure properly and ensuring the continuity of the project.