Pilot Projects

ASPIRED pilot projects with application of locally appropriate and cost effective water and energy efficiency technologies at different water use areas and fish farms in the Ararat Valley. Pilot projects are aimed at improving management of natural resources and reducing groundwater extraction levels. A related goal is to make water users more energy efficient and promote application of clean energy technologies.


ASPIRED started a new renewable energy project in collaboration with a private fishery near Hovtashat village.  ASPIRED Project will help the fishery to install a 30 KW PV kit to minimize the energy consumption.

Having purchased this fishery in 2019, the owner, Artyom Torosyan, have made critical improvements to apply water saving technologies for more efficient use of water. In consultation with the ASPIRED engineering team, Artyom Torosyan introduced water recirculation system, replicating the technologies piloted by the ASPIRED Project at the Aquaculture Technologies Transfer Center. Artyom Torosyan’s fishery uses air lift pumps for enriching water with oxygen and passive settlers for sludge removal.

However, recirculation technologies consume more energy, and this increases production costs. Use of the solar energy is an environmentally friendly alternative to compensate for extra energy costs of aerators and recirculation pumps.

The farm produces about 90 tons of fish annually, using only 40 liters of water per second. The production rate is 2.25 tons of fish for the water flow of 1 liter/second which is 2.8 times more fish than the accepted standard of 800 kg.  The energy saving is estimated to 46 MWh annually while the total energy consumption of the fishery is about 350 MWh in a year.


ASPIRED has two projects in Griboyedov community. In addition to the irrigation improvement project, ASPIRED will seal one of the unused wells owned by the community. This self-emitting well has the outflow of 15 liters per second, and water is running into the nearby drainage network. The project will include the following:

  • Site preparation: cleaning of the area to enable access for heavy equipment
  • Cleaning of the well pipe from the existing rubble that would create ‘pockets’ and reduce the effectiveness of sealing.
  • Sealing work: filling of the well with lime and neat cement. After the flow is stopped and the monitoring shows there is no flow on the outside of the well casing, the upper part of the well will be filled with monolith concrete.

This method of permanent decommissioning (plugging or sealing) of artesian wells had been already successfully applied by ASPIRE during decommissioning of the artesian well in Sipanik Village.


The project will improve irrigation efficiency on 70 hectares of community land currently serviced by Echmiadzin Water User Association. Project activities are aimed at the following:

  • Reduce infiltration losses from the network by replacing earth canals with concrete or stone canals.
  • Reduction of water losses will improve water flow rate and water availability for the land users at the network downstream
  • Install three distribution chambers to improve the water distribution and network management.

The project will provide the following results:

  • Annual groundwater saving of about 4,400 cubic meters
  • Returning to cultivation about 6 hectares of arable land and prevention of land degradation.
  • Twelve land users will benefit from improved irrigation services.


Irrigation project in Mrgashat community is aimed at improving the efficiency of irrigation and expanding the area of arable lands in the community. The Project will help to improve access to water for 30 hectares of land. Ultimately, more than 150 land users will benefit from improved irrigation opportunities.

The technical upgrade of the irrigation network will result in water and energy savings equivalent to 228,000 m3 of water and 59,280 kWh of energy per annum.

Specific improvements will include:

  • Building a 600m shortcut to take the water directly from the pump to the fields via PE pipe;
  • Installation of a metal valve box (boot) to enclose the control valves and install a new pump controls with a soft starter and surge protection;
  • Construction of a steel pipe crossing over the existing earthen channel;
  • Construction of an irrigation distribution network and two outlets in the field.


The objective of this follow-up project is to expand the irrigation system optimized under ASPIRED Project in 2019 to extend the irrigated area with additional 20 hectares of farmland and enable better access to irrigation water for 30 farmers.

Under the previous project, the ASPIRED team optimized the well, installed a valve chamber and the irrigation system to increase the efficiency of the groundwater use from the artesian well in Hovtashat village. Under the current activity, the ASPIRED will install 600 meters of pipeline and two water outlets intended for 20 hectares of land.


ASPIRED Project will start the drinking water project in Sardarapat village –  one of the largest communities Armavir region, with the population size of 5732 people.

ASPIRED and its partner community will perform the following:

  • Redesign the network for better pressure management; install the new PE water pipes in the network in accordance with the technical specifications set out in the Project Concept enclosed to the Agreement
  • Equip the submersible pump installed on the well which feeds the network with improved controls and a variable frequency drive
  • Build a protective perimeter and install chlorination equipment on the pumping station
  • Install locally manufactured meter boxes made of recycled plastic
  • Conduct public outreach and training for raising awareness on solid waste management and environmental protection practices
  • Replace all the existing connections to the network with standard 20mm PE pipes;
  • Install residential water-meters and switch to volumetric billing.
  • Install billing and collection software for water service management and train the local staff on its use.

After all renovations are completed, the community will have 24/7 water supply.


The project improved the irrigation water availability for Khachpar village. Currently, the community  receives about 250 l/s of water which will meet their irrigation water needs.

Activities included the following:

  • The ASPIRED Project will replace the existing earth canal with the PE pipeline
  • Build inlet and outlet chambers and related infrastructure. This will help to prevent the solid waste particles from getting into the pipe and to manage the water flow
  • Repair existing roadside canals inside the village and increase their flow capacity to 250 l/second.

The  project is implemented through the cooperation of ASPIRED and PURE-Water Projects.


The Project was implemented jointly by the ASPIRED Project, Hayastan All-Armenian Fund (AAF) and Artashat Water User Association. On June 18, 2019, the ASPIRED Project and AAF signed a Cooperation Agreement marking the beginning of this project, each party providing more than 15 mln. Armenian Drams for its implementation.

Activities included:

  • Replacement of existing corroded pipes with more durable PE pipes
  • Installation of new PE pipes instead of existing earth ditches
  • Repair/replacement of existing pump’s impeller to improve operational efficiency

The Project improved irrigation efficiency for 120 hectares of land and return to cultivation additional 40 hectares of arid community farmlands which have been left idle for years due to the lack of water. Hence, the total coverage is 160 hectares. The project enabled income generation opportunities for 400 land-owners who will directly benefit from improved irrigation network.


The objective of the project was to improve the operational efficiency of an artesian well in the Village of Hovtashat through optimization of the water use for irrigation needs. The water output of the well is 82 liters/second, the diameter of the well pipe 300 mm. During the irrigation season, the well  water is channeled to the nearby fields (about 50-60 ha). The project included the following activities:

  • Site preparation – i.e. clearing of reeds and rubble, and installation of a temporary gravity flow water drain
  • Repair of the existing intake reservoir
  • Construction of a valve chamber and irrigation network
  • Installation of a booster pipe and a mobile diesel generator to operate the pump

Project impact: 

  • Annual net saving of groundwater – 1,474,000 cubic meters.
  • Irrigation of about 60 hectares of land which were left idle before the project
  • Income-generation opportunities for 57 farmers.


The infrastructure project was implemented through the cooperation of ASPIRED and PURE-Water Projects. The project provided a new irrigation system for the municipal park and the football field for the town of Vedi.  The new system is equipped with a diversified pumping system for low and high elevation zones, a new  30 m3 storage reservoir, and new water pipes. The existing irrigation system was fully renovated to reduce water loss and ensure more efficient irrigation.

On top of that, a 19 kW solar power system will be installed the roof of the sports school located  next to the football field. The PV kit will help to reduce the cost of pumping for the municipal budget and can be used for heating the school in winter and for powering the pumps in summer.

Proposed improvements result in significant water and energy savings and in more affordable irrigation for the Municipality.

Project impact:

  • Annual saving of groundwater  – 27,374 cubic meters
  • Electricity saving –  13,193 kWh in comparison with the current level of consumption
  • Annual clean energy generation – about 33,288 kWh
  • Preservation of municipal park area: 3.5 hectares.


The infrastructure project was implemented through cooperation of ASPIRED and PURE-Water Projects. The project on the improvement of the drinking water system in the Village of Aratashen included the following works:

  • Redesign of the network and installation of polyethylene pipes
  • Installation of a new submersible pump to supply water to the network
  • Design and construction of a chlorination station
  • Installation of individual water meters at all households connected to the new network

These network renovation resulted in a significant improvement of the water supply in this community from 5 hours per day to 24 hours, improved the safety of drinking water and reduced the number of breakages in the network.


Success story Aratashen-eng


Project was implemented through cooperation of ASPIRED and PURE-Water Projects. The project included the following works:

  • Redesign of the network and installation of polyethylene pipes
  • Installation of a new submersible pump to supply water to the network
  • Design and construction of a chlorination station
  • Installation of individual water meters at all households connected to the new network

These network renovation resulted in the round-the-clock safe drinking water supply in the community as compared to previous 3 hours and increased water savings due to the reduction of water losses from the network.


Optimization of the unused wells is one of the ways to increase efficiency of the groundwater use in the Ararat Valley. The objective of the project was to use the water from the self-emitting unused well located in Sipanik community for irrigation purposes. The well is about 210 meters deep and the discharge is estimated to 30 liters per second. The project included the following steps:

  • Site preparation;
  • Cleaning and repair of the well pipe
  • Construction of a valve chamber and installation of the water pipeline to channel water to the main distribution channels of the existing irrigation network.
  • Ensuring irrigation of 20 hectares of farmlands

Introduction of the Automated Online Centralized Management System in the Ararat Valley

The ASPIRED project supports the Armenian Government in improving the management of the groundwater resources in the Ararat Valley through the introduction of the automated online centralized management system in the Ararat Valley.

Implemented in partnership with Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling company as part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed on July 20, 2016, the pilot project focused on the installation of the flow meters and data loggers on 20 groundwater abstraction points existing in the fish farms. The real time data on the groundwater measurements will be transmitted to a remote server installed in the Ministry of Nature Protection and made available online to users through the web site of the Water Resources Management Agency. The data will be updated every five minutes and stored on a server for up to five years.

At the pilot stage, the system covers four large fish farms of the Ararat Valley – Alex Grig, Inter Aqua, Max Fish, and Unifish companies with limited liability. After the successful launch of the system, the Government plans to extend the network into other fish farms of the Ararat Valley.

The installation of the automatic monitoring system will ultimately help to enhance the monitoring of the groundwater use in the Ararat Valley and control over the compliance with approved water use permits. Moreover, availability of a reliable data system and analytical tools will provide the basis for more informed decision-making on water resources in the Ararat Valley.


The Project was implemented by the ASPIRED Project, USAID’s Partnership for Rural Prosperity (PRP) Project, implemented by the Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Development National Center of Armenia (SME DNC), the Fund for Armenian Relief and Sayat-Nova community under a cooperation agreement signed on December 25, 2017. The objective of the project was to ensure irrigation of 60 ha of community farmlands with the use of the outlet water of Masis-Dzuk fish farm. The project included the following activities:

  • Pumping station built in the premises of Masis-Dzuk fish farm with its infrastructure, that will be used to pump water for irrigation of the nearby fields,
  • Extension of a pipeline from the pumping station to the upper part of the old irrigation system, so that the water can flow back through the existing aqueducts by gravity
  • Rehabilitation of the existing irrigation network and clean-up of existing earth and concrete ditches.

The new irrigation network built with joint effort of the project partners was transferred to the community for ownership. The community is responsible for the exploitation and maintenance of the system for the purposes of the Project.

Immediate results of the Project:

  • Community residents – 2400 people,
  • Direct project beneficiaries – 98 households,
  • Prevention of the use of artesian water for irrigation purposes by the community
  • Saving of strategically important groundwater resources: 1,920,000 m3 of water per annum,
  • Prevention of soil degradation: at least 60 ha.

Success story Sayat-Nova_eng


The Aquaculture Technology Transfer Center is an experimental base for testing, validating and demonstrating various modern aquaculture technologies and methods at smaller scale. The Project was implemented in partnership with Armavir Farmer LLC – a privately-owned fish farm near Metsamor in Armavir region. Once proven successful, these technologies and best practices can be captured and utilized by other fish-farm owners, with the aim of minimizing costs and using existing resources more efficiently.

The following technologies, methods and tools are tested and demonstrated in the Center:

  1. Re-circulation; around 70% of the total inflow water will be the recirculated water from the outlet of the fish farm. Only around 30% of the total inflow water will be supplied from the well.
  2. Passive settling; to remove solid organic particles (fish excretions) from the outlet water without additional energy costs, passive settling will be used. The settled lime will be removed using a simple system of drain pipes and valves.
  3. Airlifting = aeration + pumping; airlift pumps will be used to combine two functions: enriching the water with oxygen and lifting it to the point of inlet of the following facility.
  4. Bio-filtration; to convert ammonia (NH4+ and NH3) excreted by the fish into nitrate, outlet water will be channeled through biofilters – a substrate for the bacterial community that use ammonia for energy and produce nitrates from it.
  5. Phyto-filtration; this will be done in two facilities: a water hyacinth pond and an aquaponic greenhouse technically consisting of sand filters (media for growing the plants) combined with phyto-filters (plants cultivated in the farm). In addition to producing valuable crops, the pond and the greenhouse will work as an integrated filtration facility that cleans the water from nitrates, phosphates and suspended (unsettled) organic particles.
  6. Use of outlet water for crayfish farming; to avoid excessive concentration of salts and minerals in recirculated water, some amount of fresh water should be constantly added to the system (around 30%). This will naturally cause the overflowing of equivalent (less evaporation and other losses) amount of water from the system. Before the final discharge, the overflow water can be used for crayfish farming, since crayfish is less sensitive to water quality and more sensitive to water temperature (the optimal water temperature for red claw crayfish farming is 27°C).
  7. Biological treatment of wastewater; the outflow water, after passing through the crayfish ponds will not be usable for any other type of aquaculture production. However, before being discharged into the environment (more specifically the drain channel), it will be treated biologically in a reed-bed (wetland) facility to minimize the impact on the environment. At the same time, the green reed harvested from the wetland will be used as feed  stock for the biogas digesters.
  8. Anaerobic digestion; the wastes from the fish-farm, the greenhouse, the water hyacinth pond and the reed-bed facility can be used to produce biogas. The generated biogas will be used to produce electricity and to heat the water in crayfish ponds.
  9. Photovoltaic kits; a 15 kW PV kit can be used as an additional source of renewable energy to cover the power demand of the recirculation system.


The ASPIRED launched a project on permanent sealing of the artesian well # 1/403 near the Village of Sipanik, Ararat Marz. The well had an outflow of 35-40 liters per second, as per estimates. The casing and the upper part of the well tube was damaged. Part of the water from this self-emitting well outflowed into the drainage channel while the rest flooded the neighboring fields, bogging the area and blocking the passage to the local cemetery.

The plan on sealing involved four major phases: 1) assessment of the condition of the well casing; 2) preparation of the site to ensure access to the well for heavy machinery; 3) cleaning the well tube from rubble rubble and any debris that would create ‘pockets’ and reduce the effectiveness of sealing; 4) sealing of the well with a mix of bentonite and neat cement. After the flow has been stopped and the monitoring showed no flow on the outside of the well casing, the upper part of the well (3-4m) was filled with monolith concrete.

This method of well conservation is widely practiced in various countries including United States. Based on the estimated water flow data, the annual saving of artesian groundwater resources as a result of the well sealing will be equal to 1.1 million cubic meters.

success story Sipanik-eng

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In 2016, the ASPIRED Project in collaboration with Coca-Cola Hellenic Armenia and ERGIS NGO implemented the irrigation system rehabilitation project in the Village of Hayanist, Ararat Marz, targeted to provide more affordable irrigation services via more efficient groundwater use. The essence of the project is to use the outlet water from the fish farm near Hayanist community for irrigation of 40 ha of community land. The new pumping station was built at the outlet section of the fish farm and the new irrigation network was installed with the use of polyethylene pipes.

Direct human and environmental impact of the project:

  • Number of beneficiaries: 370 people from 120 households
  • No additional water will be taken from the groundwater aquifers
  • Saving of strategic groundwater resources: 1,100,000 m3 annually;
  • Saving of electricity on pumping: 24,000 kWh annually;
  • Prevention of degradation of soil: 40 ha

Hayanist food safety testing-eng