A panel of experts, who gathered today at Armenia’s Ministry of Nature Protection to debate a government plan regarding management of water resources in the Ararat plain, pointed out that over utilization of the area’s underground aquifer reached its peak in 2014.
Zhora Achoyan, chief spokesperson for the plan, noted that the Ararat basin’s balance was first disrupted in 2007 and even greater harm was inflicted the following year when fish breeding was included in a list of state development priorities.
Fish farms, many owned by government officials and their cronies, dot the area and tap into the fragile aquifer for much needed fresh water.
In 2013, 55.5 cubic meters of water per minute were being drawn from underground reserves, an amount 1.6 times the permitted norm. Only 33.5 were utilized for fish farming purposes.
This year, the overall withdrawal of water has amounted to 75.2 cubic meters per minute, of which 60.7 (80%) has been used for fish farming.
The new management plan was prepared by HayHydroEnergaNakhagidz Ltd.
Due to the excessive withdrawal in 2014, the underground water table in the area is said to have dropped from 3-15 meters, or more.
The panel claims that due to water conservation measures and the closing of 311 geyser wells, some 1.3 million cubic meters of water has been saved annually.
Achoyan believes that if such measures continue, it will be possible to restore the artesian basin in the area within a short time.
Minister of Nature Protection Aramayis Grigoryan instructed the panel to send their observations regarding the plan, inadequacies and suggestions, to its authors as quickly as possible in order to prepare a final draft.
Photo: Minister Aramayis Grigoryan