USAID, through the ASPIRED Project, has been instrumental in strengthening the groundwater resource management capacities in Armenia. As part of its assistance to the Ministry of Environment, ASPIRED Project supports restoration and extension of the national reference groundwater monitoring network in the Ararat Valley. Starting from 2016 until now, ASPIRED has been delivering a full-stack technical assistance to the Ministry of Environment, including training, capacity building, equipment donation and refurbishment of some groundwater observation wells.
Water measurements on observation wells provide information on the state of the groundwater aquifer. This data is also critical for planning and efficient management of groundwater resources. To enhance the data-driven decision making at the Ministry of Environment, during 2019-2020, ASPIRED donated the state-of-art equipment to the Hydrometeorology and Monitoring Center (HMC) – the Ministry’s subdivision responsible for groundwater monitoring. The HMC received an ultrasonic flowmeter, groundwater level meters, a well camera, portable devices for measuring water temperature, amount of dissolved oxygen and electric conductivity.
In 2019, the ASPIRED Project refurbished seven observation wells in the feeding zone of the Ararat Valley for inclusion into the National Reference Groundwater Monitoring Network. The HMC will start measurements on these wells since May 2021. At the present, the HMC reportedly conducts routine groundwater monitoring on 238 wells using equipment provided by the ASPIRED Project.
By the request of the Ministry of Environment, ASPIRED will restore two more groundwater monitoring wells in Dalar and Vardanashen communities in Ararat and Armavir regions. In January-February 2021, the hydrologists of the ASPIRED Project and HMC inspected the condition of the wells and the nearby area. Using the well camera ️📹, the team was able to assess the well structure and littering level. Refurbishments will include cleaning of wells, restoration of damaged well structures, replacement of valves and area fencing 🛠.
📌The video of the well camera in use is here.
Groundwater monitoring assumes technical skills in the use of equipment and assessment process, as well as knowledge of the groundwater system among the specialists involved in routine monitoring tasks. Facilitated by ASPIRED Project, the US Geological Survey conducted training of the Ministry staff on well inventory, data collection and water quality sampling protocols in 2016, and delivered a webinar on groundwater modeling and hydrogeologic framework in 2017.
Groundwater resources of the Ararat Valley are of strategic importance for the country. With the increasing concern over the shrinking groundwater level, there should be an effective resource management policy on place to meet current and future water needs and prevent their further reduction, and negative impact on the environment.