USAID provides new flow-meters to Armenia’s Ministry of Nature Protection

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) presented flow-meters to the Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia at the official handover ceremony, held on February 24 at “Masisdzuk” fish farm in Sayat Nova village of Ararat province.Susan Fritz, USAID’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Europe and Eurasia Bureau, Karen Hilliard, the head of USAID/Armenia, Simon Papyan, theDeputy Minister of Nature Protection, VahanDavtyan, the head of the Water Resource Management Agency of the Ministry of Nature Protection, and other state officials attended the event.

The USAID Clean Energy and Water Program (CEWP) purchased latest generation portable flow-meters as part of USAID’s technical support to the Ministry of Nature Protection and the Water Resources Management Agency (WRMA), with the aim of strengthening the control mechanisms over the extensive exploitation of groundwater resources in the Ararat Valley. The flow meters will be used by respective divisions of the Ministry and the WRMA to regularly monitor the level of groundwater extraction by fisheries – currentlythe largest water consumers in the area.

The assessment of the current status of groundwater resources in the Ararat Valley, conducted by USAID/CEWP in 2014,raised publicly the alarming situation with the shrinking level of groundwater supplies in the Ararat Valley,Armenia’s vital agricultural hub.Uncontrolledwithdrawal and use of the groundwater by numerous fisheries, which have started to expand in the valley over the past years, was reported as one of the major causes. Recommendations in the study included provisions for the temporary close down or liquidation of illegal or damaged groundwater wells, and the introduction of mandatory monitoring of water quantities consumed by all fisheries. Stricter water permitting practices, consistent oversight, and the introduction of innovative water conservation technologies will help mitigate and eventually reverse the damaging effects of the unregulated use of the groundwater reserves in the Ararat Valley.

The USAID Clean Energy and Water Program is designed to improve water and energy management practices in Armenia, as well as help the country better respond to climate change challenges. The program implements a number of water and energy projects in several rural communities in Armenia to demonstrate best practices in the management of energy and water systems. These projects focus on water supply, efficient lighting, space and water heating, use of biogas, and solar energy.

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