YEREVAN (PanArmenian.am) —The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Armenia (Coca-Cola HBC Armenia) and the Ministry of Nature Protection on Wednesday, July 20 signed a Memorandum of Understanding, aimed at improving water stewardship across Armenia and particularly contributing to conservation, effective use and management of water resources in Ararat valley.
This partnership will support some of the activities implemented under the USAID’s Advanced Science and Partnerships for Integrated Resource Development Project (ASPIRED) aimed at curbing the groundwater extraction in Ararat Valley and bringing it to sustainable levels.
“Tackling such a large problem requires partnerships and cooperation. For many years, USAID has been working closely with the Armenian government and other partners on a coordinated approach to using and safeguarding the Ararat Valley water supply,” said US Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills. “The government has responded in a number of ways, including reducing the amount of fisheries allowed, and closing illegal and abandoned wells. These are good steps, necessary steps. But more must be done, and thanks to the alliance established today – between USAID, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Armenia, and the Ministry of Nature Protection – more will be done.”
In fact, the decreasing groundwater reserves and the uncontrolled use of the artesian water by fish farms have left some 30 communities in the Ararat and Armavir provinces without reliable access to drinking or irrigation water. In 2016, the joint efforts of the USAID and Coca-Cola will allow rehabilitating the irrigation network on over 40 hectares of agricultural land in Hayanist community. Further, the parties will contribute to the installation of the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Systems at 20 fish farms to improve water management on a greater area facing groundwater shortages.
Sayyora Ayupova, the General Manager of Coca-Cola Hellenic Armenia, emphasized the importance of the Memorandum in terms of the positive impact it will have on the socio-economic development of the region: “Water stewardship and community development are the key pillars of the CSR activity of Coca-Cola Hellenic Armenia. Thus, this Memorandum and particularly the implementation of this irrigation project are highly valued by our company. It tackles the responsible and effective use of water resource while contributing to the sustainable development of Hayanist and other communities of Ararat valley.”
Appreciating the support of USAID and the CSR policy of Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, Deputy Minister of Nature Protection, Simon Papyan, said “The program is in line with the policy adopted by Armenia. The use of advanced technologies for integrated resource conservation will significantly boost our own efforts aimed at the protection, efficient and economical management of underground water resources in Ararat Valley, bringing them to a sustainable level.”
Under the memorandum, the parties will also join efforts in the organization of the Water Ideathon – a contest to mobilize community participation and solicit innovative ideas for solving Armenia’s water resource management challenges.