On January 14, the ASPIRED Project conducted a zoom meeting to present the draft method of assessment of self-purification capacity of rivers for the peer review of the academic sector experts. ASPIRED experts presented the hydrochemical, hydrobiological and hydromorphological components of the method, including the process, the methodology, the sampling, and calculation methods. 

The method is elaborated by the ASPIRED Project by the initiative of the Ministry of Environment as part of the priority measures on efficient management of the Ararat groundwater basin. The working group formed by the ASPIRED Project consists of the relevant field experts – a hydro-morphologist, water quality specialist and hydro-biologist, as well as the representatives of the stakeholder agencies – the Ministries of Environment, Emergency Situations, Territorial Administration and Infrastructure. Water samplings were made in Kasakh River basin based on the characteristics, such as the river network morphology, hydrological feeding regime, existing human and natural pressures on the water quality, availability of multi-year monitoring data and other factors.  

By the acknowledgement of the experts, the definition of the self-purification capacity index is very important given the pollution level of the Armenian rivers. The meeting participants highly appreciated the comprehensive academic approach adopted by the ASPIRED experts in their research activities, particularly the depth and the synergy of issues tackled, and the diverse team of experts involved into the working group. Another positive aspect is that the method takes into consideration the seasonality factor of the rivers. The questions mostly required explanations on the calculation and sampling methods used by the experts, use and interpretation of the analytical data and follow-up actions towards enforcement of the method.

The representative of the Ministry of Environment noted that the method of self-purification capacity of rivers will be used by the Ministry staff during the water use permitting evaluations and welcomed insights of the meeting participants as to where else the method can be applied. The participants named a few more application areas. The method can be effective for the climate change projections as well as environmental impact assessment of business activities, namely the anthropogenic impacts on the rivers. It was also mentioned that the analysis of self-purification capacity of rivers is important for the river basin planning processes, particularly for determining water bodies at potential or actual risk.

ASPIRED Project will finalize the method of self-purification capacity assessment of rivers, the user manual and the draft legal act with enforcement mechanisms and present to the Ministry of Environment.