PRESS RELEASE

July 18, 2017

For Immediate Release
Contact: Gayane Sargsyan
The Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development
9 Alex Manoogian Str., Yerevan 0070, Armenia
Tel.: (00 374 60) 612075
E-mail: info@urbanurbanfoundation.am

USAID FUNDED “PURE WATER” PROJECT HOLDS PUBLIC LAUNCH EVENT, SIGNS PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS WITH 12 LOCAL COMMUNITIES

Yerevan, Armenia – On July 18, 2017,the USAID-funded Participatory Utilization and Resource Efficiency of Water (PUREWater) project launched its activities in the country by signing Memoranda of Understanding with 12communitiesof the Ararat Valley. In attendance at the public launch event were U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr., USAID Armenia Mission Director Deborah Grieser, Armenia’s Minister of Nature Protection Artsvik Minasyan, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Armen Harutyunyan, Government of Armenia officials, representatives of the partner communities, local and international organizations.

Severe depletion of groundwater reserves in the Ararat Valley is high on the Government of Armenia’s agenda. The groundwater outflow exceeds the inflow due to many issues, including the exponential growth of fish farming, the continued use of inefficient and outdated fish farming techniques, corruption permitting illegal wells, weak enforcement of water saving policies, and low levels of environmental awareness among the Ararat Valley’s citizens.

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To help address these challenges, PURE Water is partnering with twelve communities, handpicked by the project after a thorough application review, on-site interviews, and weighted scoring. These communities are: Vedi, Pokr Vedi, Berkanush, Aygavan, Burastan, and Khachpar (Ararat province), and Yeraskhahun, Yeghegnut, Gai, Griboyedov, Aknalich, and Aratashen (Armavir province).

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Mills thanked the leaders and citizens of the 12 communities for participating in the event. “Your efforts will serve as a model for citizen participation in solving Armenia’s water resources challenges. These are just the latest partnerships between Armenia and the U.S., and we are proud to be part of the effort to conserve Armenia’s valuable water resources. This year, we celebrate 25 years of U.S.-Armenian diplomatic relations, and 25 years of USAID working with the Armenian people.”
The goal of the PURE Water project is to reduce groundwater abstraction in the Ararat Valley and to increase water productivity, quality and efficiency of water use through public awareness campaigns and increased citizen participation. The project will facilitate improvements in the policy and regulatory framework to foster responsible use of water resources, encourage individuals and civil society to participate in and oversee water resource management, and help design small-scale infrastructure projects.

The three-yearPURE Water project is implemented by the Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development in partnership with the Country Water Partnership NGO, and the Environmental Law Rresource Center at Yerevan State University. The project will closely collaborate with a broad range of stakeholders including national and local authorities and agencies, civil society organizations, water user associations, research institutions, and the media.