Vedi, Ararat – Only one percent of the Earth’s water is fresh and suitable for human use and consumption. Moreover, 90 percent of bottled water and 83 percent of tap water people consume across the globe contain plastic particles. The heavy burden of plastic pollution, the impact of climate change, the competing demand for fresh water, and the large water footprint of human activity made 2017 a year of global water stress.

On June 5, the USAID funded Participatory Utilization and Resource Efficiency of Water (PURE Water) project, and the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Armenia celebrated the World Environment Day with nine partner communities from Ararat and Armavir. The public celebration in Vedi was aimed at increasing public awareness of the importance of efficient management of the depleting groundwater resources in the Ararat Valley and to promote behavioral change among local water users.

The Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission in Yerevan, Deputy Governor of Ararat province, Mayor of Vedi, and representatives of Coca-Cola HBC Armenia and PURE Water project greeted the participants.

“Today, as we celebrate the World Environment Day, it is encouraging to see such enthusiasm and commitment to using and managing Armenia’s water resources more sustainably. The Ararat Valley’s scarce yet valuable water supply demands our ongoing attention, and the U.S. Government will continue to support Armenia’s efforts to use this precious resource efficiently,” Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission, Rafik Mansour noted in his opening remarks.

About 500 local residents, including children and youth, art school students, heads of communities, representatives of local governments and partner organizations were in attendance. The community event featured environment related photo and painting exhibitions, award ceremonies, dance and musical performances by local talents, and theatrical plays.

The event was one of the regional initiatives of PURE Water and the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Armenia this year as part of the “Water is Life: Every Drop Matters” campaign. Since the launch of the campaign in March 2018, over 1,200 residents of PURE Water’s twelve partner communities in Ararat and Armavir have participated in various events and public discussions, learning about the importance of efficient management of Armenia’s water resources.

More than anywhere in the country, Armenia’s key agricultural hub and breadbasket, the Ararat Valley, is facing a severe depletion of groundwater reserves. Today, over 30 communities and 260,000 Armenians have limited access to drinking and irrigation water.

PURE Water promotes responsible water management in the Ararat Valley through public awareness, behavior change of water consumers, and increased civic participation. The project is implemented by the Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development, together with the Country Water Partnership and the Yerevan State University Environmental Law Resource Center.