Residents of Zorakan and Berdavan, villages in Armenia’s Tavoush Province, are threatening to close the highway from Yerevan to Tbilisi because they haven’t had irrigation water for the past two weeks.
Many point to a lack of rain as the main culprit.
Rafik Babajanyan, a farmer in Zorakan, says the village is one of the most neglected in the country and that irrigation water has always been a problem. Residents, he says, are always complaining to local and state officials.
Babajanyan says that the village usually gets irrigation water flows three or four times yearly, but the lack of rain this year, coupled with high temperatures, has exacerbated the situation. Trees in the village are dying, he says.
“If nature would be a bit more accommodating, residents wouldn’t be so aggressive,” says Zorakan Mayor Souren Martirosyan.
Residents of Zorakan, a village of 1,158, mostly grow corn, sunflowers and tobacco.
Yura Voskanyan, Director of the Tavoush Water Users’ Union, told Hetq that irrigation water will be provided in a few days.
“We’ve also had a drinking water problem ever since the fall of communism. We have a few springs built by residents, but the water is salty and clayish. People are forced to drink it. They have to transport back home in canisters on the backs of donkeys,” says Babajanyan.
Martirosyan says that two years ago the Armenian Water Sewerage Company (AWSC) started to install a pumping station for drinking water and to lay pipes. Two years ago, the Zorakan Municipality allocated 3 million AMD to the project.
The project remains half finished.
Veolia Water, the company that took over from AWSC, hasn’t finished the project that requires an additional $40-$50,000.