Access to Clean Water Remains a Challenge for Many Armenians

By Ani Paitjan

March 22 marks World Water Day, but according to the United Nations, 2.1 billion people still live without safe water at home, more than 700 children under five years of age die every day from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation. Globally, 80 percent of the people who use unsafe and unprotected water sources live in rural areas.

Unclean water and lack of access to water are still major problems in Armenia. In 2016, one in five people in Armenia stated that drinking water is contaminated.

The country is not rich in water resources. The  river network is distributed extremely unevenly throughout the territory. The Araks River Basin occupies most of the territory of  Armenia (76.5%), which originates in the Byurakn mountain range in Turkey.

Veolia Jour CJSC, a French company managing water and wastewater system in the country, serves 356 water supplies. There are 570 other areas not served by them.

Despite the presence of collection systems, sewage is mainly dumped into the rivers and other water areas, as there are no facilities to collect wastewater and to transport them to cleaning stations.

On January 17, the government of Armenia approved the program of introducing water-saving technologies for the effective management of the country’s water resources.

Irina Ghaplanyan, Deputy Minister of Nature Protection of the  Republic of Armenia, stated that the decision is based on the Ararat Valley water management plan for 2016-2021.

Armenia, being a landlocked  mountainous country, is characterized by vulnerable ecosystems and desiccation of water basins.

The implementation of the program will serve as a basis for the restoration of water resources that have been inherited from traditional water use and according to Ghaplanyan, “current activities, will ensure further sustainable development of the environment, restore natural  resources, and reduce adverse effects on human health.”

Read More: Toward Integrated Water Resources Management in Armenia