A small hydropower plants (HPP) built on the Gegarot River. Photo by Samvel Pipoyan https://www.ecolur.org/ru/news/energy/vgegharotv-small-hpp-monitoring-results-photos/7521/

07 June 2019, 14:34

Armenian villagers threaten to change riverbed to stop two HPPs

The operation of two small hydropower plants (HPPs) built on the Gegarot River led to a deterioration of water quality. If the authorities fail to stop the HPPs, the river bed will be changed, local residents have threatened. 

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on March 17, more than a hundred people blocked the traffic along the Yerevan-Vanadzor highway, demanding to stop operation of two small HPPs built on the Gegarot River. On the same day, the highway was unblocked after the suspension of HPPs and the governor's promise to study the quality of the water used for irrigation. 

About 300 villagers gathered on June 6 and decided to change the riverbed in the water intake areas, Arbak Gasparyan, a resident of the village of Aragats, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. 

According to his story, problems with irrigation water began after the launch of small HPPs, and every year the situation has worsened. "The river source is already rich in iron and minerals. But the water, while descending along the channel, crashed into stones and got cleaner. The small HPPs intake water, releasing it into kilometre-long pipes; and, as a result, the water does not have time to get cleaner," the villager has explained. 

In late March this year, the operation of the small HPPs was suspended, but ten days later, they started working again, Mr Gasparyan has added. "We are already tired of protesting and blocking highways in anticipation of a stop of the HPPs. The only solution is to 'cut off' the water that feeds them. We've brought heavy equipment to the respective river sections in order to dig a new riverbed and direct river water to bypass the small HPPs. We won't touch their [HPP owners] property; we'll just ensure the inflow of normal water into the village," he has stressed. 

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on June 7, 2019 at 11:06 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Tigran Petrosyan; Source: CK correspondent

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