On August 28, USAID ASPRED Project and Ministry of Environment (ME) held the first session of a Working Group (WG) of the ME in Yerevan, to discuss the ASPIRED project preliminary findings on hydrologic and hydrogeologic conditions in the Ararat Valley, and a draft of the Ararat Valley Atlas. Edgar Pirumyan, Acting Head of the Department of Licenses, Permits and Compliances of the ME, chaired the session.
Due to COVID 19, the WG meetings were delayed, the interaction was online. As the first live session, it was a bit special: it was interactive, where all members of this group convened and summarized the works carried out to date.
Established on January 30, 2020 by the order of the Minister of Environment, the WG involves representatives from the ME, including Departments of Licenses, Permits and Compliances; Water Policy; and Hydrometeorology and Monitoring Center. As well, the WB members include Water Committee of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure; Institute of Geological Sciences; and Institute of Geophysics and Engineering Seismology after A. Nazarov; USAID-Armenia and ASPIRED Project representatives.
The role of the WG is to ensure effective implementation of tasks and planned results within projects supported by international donor organizations in Armenia’s water sector, such as USAID.
During the session, the ASPIRED team presented the results of calculations of water supply and demand balance of Ararat Valley for 2016, estimated values of groundwater reserves of Ararat Valley groundwater basin, natural groundwater resources and sustainable rate of groundwater use. The team described the methodology and analytical tools applied during the work and highlighted the recommendations of the WG earlier this year.
ASPIRED also presented the draft Atlas of Ararat Valley: this product was put together in close collaboration with the state agencies and international partner organizations, who provided geospatial data and information on Ararat Valley water resources.
The WG members then discussed the ASPIRED findings on hydrologic and hydrogeologic conditions in Ararat Valley, gave further advice for refining the Atlas before presenting it to the Government and other stakeholders.
Dr. Hrachya Shahinyan, Institute of Geological Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, mentioned that the “methodology applied in the ASPIRED work is a traditional approach for mathematical assessment of groundwater resources, that utilizes advanced analytical tools within the ArcGIS environment and groundwater modeling software.”
On the same note, Nazik Jzmachyan, Chief Specialist of the Department on Licenses, Permits and Compliances continued, by “proposing specific measures to the Government of Armenia for implementation of a new data-driven policy on sustainable management of water resources in Ararat Valley”.
Edgar Misakyan, Head of Hydrology Center of Hydrometeorology and Monitoring Center of the ME proposed “recommending to the Government outsourcing tasks on filling in data and analytic gaps for supporting decisions on water resources in the Ararat Valley to scientific and research institutions.”
Gevorg Aloyan, acting Head of Asset Management and Investments Implementation Department of Water Committee “emphasized the importance of regular updates of the modeling tools for Ararat Valley groundwater basin with data and use of tools.” He provided a few recommendations on publishing the Ararat Valley Atlas, which “is a good source of up-to-date data and information consolidated in one publication, with a single geospatial database for Ararat Valley.”
Participants of the session agreed on the next steps: a) finalize the main findings on water resources in the Ararat Valley; b) provide recommendations to the Government of Armenia on sustainable management of groundwater and surface water resources in Ararat Valley – Armenia’s major agricultural zone and livelihood source for the region.