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Armenia

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Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $244,224,250.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $23,821,449.00 - [10%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $40,147,811.00 - [16%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $5,295,280.00 - [2%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $1,645,754.00 - [1%]
  • Water Scarcity: $132,609,915.00 - [54%]
  • Water Management: $40,704,042.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

No challenges found.

Country Overview

1.1.WATER RESOURCES 1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES The rivers in Armenia are tributaries of the main rivers of the southern Caucasus, namely the Araks and the Kura. About 76 per cent of the total territory is part of the Araks basin and 24 per cent of the Kura basin (UNDP/GEF, 2006). Total outflow is equal to the IRWR. The outflow to Georgia through the Debet river is estimated at about 0.89km3/year and the outflow to Azerbaijan through the Agstay river at about 0.35km3/year; both these rivers are located in the Kura basin. The total outflow to Azerbaijan through the Araks and its tributaries (Arpa, Vorotan, Vokhchi) is estimated at about 5.62km3/year. The Araks river forms the border between Turkey and Armenia and further downstream, between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Armenia, it flows into Azerbaijan, joining the Kura river about 150km before its mouth at the Caspian Sea. The border flow of the Akhuryan (with Turkey) is estimated at 1.03km3/year and the Araks at 0.79km3/year. Half of the border flow is accounted for in Armenia’s water balance, bringing the total actual renewable water resources to 7.769km3/year. The 14 sub-basins of the two main river basins (Kura and Araks) have been grouped into five basin management areas: Akhuryan, Northern, Sevan-Hrazdan, Ararat and Southern. About 9,500 rivers and streams with a total length of 23,000km flow in Armenia. Out of that number, 379 rivers are around 10-100 km long and seven, namely the Akhuryan, Debet, Vorotan, Hrazdan, Aghstev, Arpa and Metsamor-Kasakh, are longer than 100km. Armenian rivers are typically of a mountainous nature, with sharp seasonal variations, spring freshets and low water flow in summer. Armenia has more than 100 small lakes, some of which regularly dry out in the dry season. The Sevan and Arpi lakes are the most important in terms of size and economic importance. The Hrazdan and Akhuryan rivers originate from these two lakes, the larger of which is Lake Sevan, located in the centre of the country. It lies at 1,900m above sea level, which makes it a strategic source of energy and irrigation water. The level of the lake, originally with a surface area of about 1,414km2 and 58km3 of stored water, has fallen since the 1930s due to the lake’s increasing use for irrigation and domestic water supply. By 1972, its level had fallen by almost 19m and its surface area had been reduced to 1,250km2. At present, it covers an area of about 1,200km2, has a volume of approximately 34km3, and plays a central and important hydrological role in the country. It serves the densely populated Hrazdan river basin and the Ararat Valley where Yerevan, the capital, is situated. Through its regulated surface outflow into the Hrazdan river, the lake’s water provides a substantial amount of hydropower and irrigation to croplands in the Ararat Valley. The lake is also an important recreational area, natural habitat and cultural resource for the Armenian population. Since 1960, two inter-basin transfer schemes have been implemented to restore the ecology of the lake and its storage capacity as a strategic water reserve for multipurpose use. A 48km tunnel was built between 1963 to 1982 to divert some 250 million m3 of water annually from the Arpa river to Lake Sevan. A similar project, to divert 165 million m3 of water annually from the upper Vorotan river to the Arpa river through a 22km tunnel was completed in 2004. In the last few years, the lake’s level has risen by about 2.7m as a result of favourable meteorological conditions and improved management. Electricity generation at the Sevan-Hrazdan Cascade is currently tied to irrigation releases. During the last few years, irrigation releases have ranged from 120 to 150 million m3. The second most important lake is Lake Arpi. It is located in the western part of the Ashotsk depression at an altitude of 2,020 m above sea level. With the construction of a dam to solve irrigation problems, the lake became a reservoir. Most of the reservoirs were constructed during the Soviet period. In 2004, some 83 reservoirs were operating in Armenia and total capacity was estimated at 1,399 million m3, of which approximately 1,350 million m3 was stored in reservoirs with a capacity of over 5 million m3 each. Most of the water is used for irrigation. Some reservoirs are used for hydropower, recreation, fisheries and environmental protection. In 1995, about 145 million m3 was used for municipal and industrial purposes. The largest reservoir is on the Akhuryan river, which forms the border with Turkey. It has a storage capacity of 525 million m3, is shared with Turkey, and provides water for the irrigation of about 300km2 in Armenia. In contrast, many small off-channel reservoirs in the southwest of Aragats (Talish, Talin, Kakavadzor, Bazmaberd, Katnakhpyur), which accumulate spring tide waters, have a capacity of only 10,000-50,000 m3 (UNDP, 2006).

1.1.2.WATER USE Since the mid-1980s, there has been a decrease in total water withdrawal, mainly due to a decrease in agricultural and industrial water withdrawal. In fact, the reduction in water use has been accompanied by a remarkable improvement in surface water quality. In 2006, total water withdrawal for agricultural, municipal and industrial purposes was 2,827 million m3, of which about 66 per cent was for agricultural purposes, 30 per cent for municipal use and 4 per cent for industrial purposes. Agricultural water withdrawal mainly refers to irrigation of crops. Works for the watering of pastures, including providing water for cattle in the pasturing period, began in 1956. Sources of pasture watering are springs, mountain melted snow, and non-discharge water bodies. Surface water withdrawals represent 78 per cent of total water withdrawals. In most of Armenia’s territory, it is possible to use groundwater for drinking needs without any additional treatment. Indeed, about 95 per cent of the water used for drinking purposes comes from groundwater sources. Both surface water and underground springs are used for industrial water supply. Industrial water supply is provided by independently operating water supply Country Overview - Armenia systems as well as from the city drinking water supply network. For the past 10-15 years, the water requirements of industrial enterprises have significantly decreased due to reductions in the activity of many enterprises. It should be mentioned that 40 per cent of the industrial enterprises using water in Armenia are located in Yerevan. The largest water-using industrial enterprise is the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, which uses about 35 million m3/year. There are 35 high- and middle-capacity hydropower plants in Armenia, nine of which are the plants at the Vorotan and Hrazdan hydropower cascades. Hydropower accounts for 20 per cent of electricity generation. The total installed hydropower generating capacity of Armenia is about 1,100MW, of which 1,050MW is operational. Almost 95 per cent of this capacity is installed along two important hydropower cascades: the Sevan-Hrazdan Cascade and the Vorotan Cascade. Electricity generation at the Sevan-Hrazdan Cascade is tied to irrigation releases from Lake Sevan on the basis of an annual water allocation plan. As a result of insufficient regulation of volumes, hydropower production is also subject to seasonal variations. While the industrial sector is not considered a major water user, an important problem for this sector is the implementation of industrial wastewater removal and treatment. Most industrial facilities were never equipped individually because they had been connected to the public sewer network during the Soviet era, and thus were able to access municipal wastewater treatment. Attention should therefore be paid to those industries that have resumed production and from which the wastewater generated is channelled to the municipal wastewater treatment system, where only the mechanical treatment step is currently being operated. Also, the industries that are not connected to a municipal sewerage system discharge their mostly untreated wastewater directly into streams or rivers. In general, old industries that resume production are the most polluting. The total quantity of wastewater produced in 2006 amounted to 363 million m3, of which 89 million m3 was treated

1.2.WATER QUALITY, ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH Armenia’s major environmental problems are: soil pollution from toxic chemicals such as DDT; deforestation resulting from the energy crisis of the 1990s, when citizens scavenged for firewood; pollution of the Hrazdan (Razdan) and Aras rivers; the draining of Lake Sevan, a result of its use as a source for hydropower, which threatens drinking water supplies; and the resumption of operations at Metsamor nuclear power plant, in spite of its location in a seismically active zone. Most of the drinking water is provided by groundwater, which has high organoleptic properties and is very pure. Due to the poor state of the water supply networks, however, the risk of water contamination is high. Due to the lack of liquid and lime chlorine and the electric power deficit, water in most cases is supplied without chlorination. In many places, sewage and drinking water supply networks are connected, and at present the sewage system is in an emergency situation: 63 per cent of the network is more than 20 years old and 22 per cent requires immediate renewal. According to data provided by the Ministry of Health, between 1984 and 1991 no infection outbreak episodes related to drinking water quality were recorded in Armenia. However, since 1992 such episodes have been periodically registered. During the 1999-2002 period, 18 outbreak episodes relating to water pollution were recorded, with a total of 5,690 diseased persons. In 2003, 21,839 incidents were recorded, 5,839 of which (26.7 per cent) occurred in Yerevan. Solonetzic soils, which are characterized by a tough, impermeable hardpan that may vary from 5 to 30cm or more below the surface soils, are widespread. These soils are most exposed to the risk of irrigation-related salinization, mainly as a result of rising groundwater in the plains, where the majority of irrigated lands are located. In the Ararat plain, solonetzic soils cover about 10 per cent of the area. In 2006, the part of the irrigated land that was salinized was 204km2, of which 151km2 was weakly salinized, 24km2 medium salinized, and 29km2 strongly salinized. The malaria situation was stable in Armenia until 1994. In subsequent years, a downgrading of malaria prevention services and a weakening of the malaria surveillance system resulted in a steady increase in the number of malaria cases, which reached 1,156 in 1998. Over 98 per cent of these cases were detected in the Masis district of the Ararat valley, an area bordering Turkey. In recent years, owing to epidemic control interventions, the number of autochthonous malaria cases has continued to decrease, dropping to 8 in 2003. However, although numbers have been in decline, the situation must be monitored closely because of the existence of favourable conditions for malaria transmission. In 2003, Armenia redefined and adjusted its malaria control strategy, objectives and approaches, bearing in mind the results achieved to date, the extent of the problem, and potential threats in the country.

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Organizations in Armenia


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Projects in Armenia


Nedbank partnered as a sponsor, with a collective of academics and practitioners to capture key learnings from the water shortage challenge experienced in Cape Town in 2018/2019. The initiative produced three products: a documentary film library, a book and a … Learn More

Despite increasing rates of access to improved water sources (68% in 1992-93 to 89.9% in 2015-16), India continues to face its worst water shortage in history. Approximately six hundred million people are affected by high to extreme water shortages, according … Learn More

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Armenia is partnering with the USAID since 2016 on ASPIRED project, an irrigation system rehabilitation project in Hayanist Village in Ararat province, including more efficient groundwater use for local farmers and affordable irrigation services. Hayanist is … Learn More

Suggested Resources

View the full list of 300+ resources at the Water Stewardship Toolbox

With special attention to resources for utilities, this page lists relevant guidance around water and COVID-19. Learn More

Developers: American Water Works Association

This page seeks to help water sector professionals keep informed on the attributions of the COVID-19 virus and any measures needed to protect both workers and public health, in general. Learn More

In this Nature feature, Johan Rockstrom and co-authors argue that identifying and quantifying planetary boundaries that must not be transgressed could help prevent human activities from causing unacceptable environmental change. Learn More

Inform and strengthen your company’s water management strategies and allow your investors to evaluate current water management activities against detailed definitions of leading practice. Learn More

Developers: Ceres

Nature-based solution (NBS) can improve degraded ecosystems, help sequester carbon, and manage the effects of climate change, including extreme weather events. Businesses are beginning to recognize the value of NBS for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

Developed by a group of leading beverage businesses, this is an easy-to-use excel tool for beverage facilities to estimate direct costs associated with their most water- and resource- intensive processes, beyond just the cost of water from the tap. The … Learn More

Plan, Prepare and Respond- Breakdown for different industries on how to operate safely. Cleaning and disinfecting, Worker Safety, Support Resources, Mitigation Strategy Learn More

This report presents analysis of the response data from a sample of 783 of the world’s largest publicly listed companies. The report is aimed at companies and investors seeking to understand how they can play their part in delivering a … Learn More

The Toolbox connects your business to the latest tools, guidance, case studies, datasets, and more most relevant to you based on your circumstances and interests. It features more than 250+ resources from dozens of organizations and is updated every week. Learn More

Developers: CEO Water Mandate, Pacific Institute

The purpose of these guidelines is to highlight additional measures so that the integrity of the food chain is maintained, and that adequate and safe food supplies are available for consumers. Learn More

Includes Immediate steps, ongoing health measures that can be taken, and responsible business practice Learn More

Based on the major combat guidelines set by the São Paulo State Government, Sabesp is fully engaged to endure COVID-19 pandemic within its operation area, which means 374 municipalities located throughout São Paulo state and home to about 28 million … Learn More

Developers: Sabesp

Checklist for restoring water quality in buildings left unused for a long duration. Learn More

Developers: EPA Office of Wastewater Management

CDC/EPA Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Includes Printable Materials Learn More

Best practices- Resources- Webinars on WASH/COVID-19 topics. Learn More

NBS offer a promising contribution on how to enhance the availability and quality of water for productive purposes and human consumption, while preserving ecosystems. In this discussion paper, 21 case studies of water management processes are analysed, using a non-representative … Learn More

FAO has been emphasizing the need to accelerate a global transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems, advocating an integrated approach. This document focuses on the management of water for agricultural use. Learn More

The Global Water Footprint Assessment Standard can be used to provide comparable quantification and robust analytics, helping corporations, governments, and researchers manage water resources and achieve greater water sustainability. Learn More

This guide outlines why and how investors engage on agricultural supply chain water risk. Learn More

Developers: WWF

The Committee designed this document to guide the food industry and advise its sponsoring agencies in the implementation of HACCP systems. Learn More

In this link, you will find an overview of our measures and initiatives to support the health and livelihood of employees and communities in which we operate. Our three guiding principles: Health, safety, and trust of our people Safeguard the … Learn More

Developers: Heineken

Adapting to climate change, coupled with the need to address aging infrastructure, population growth, and degraded ecosystems, requires significant investment in natural and built water systems. These investments present a significant opportunity to support not only water, but to provide … Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

To help our partners in responding to this health crisis in their countries, we have compiled different resources and tools around COVID-19 and WASH, which include documents, videos, social media materials with messages on public health, webinar recordings, etc. Learn More

How to ensure the safety of staff and maintaining water quality in buildings with little or no use. Learn More

With private enterprises playing a critical role in contributing to the safety of their staff, it is important to change some of their core operations. This guide is meant as a stepping point to begin reopening with safety as a … Learn More

During an infectious disease outbreak, such as the current outbreak of COVID-19, small business owners must prepare for disruption in their business as well as prepare to protect their employees’ health and safety in the workplace. These steps are recommended … Learn More

This report shows how putting nature to work can help deliver infrastructure services with greater impact and lower cost, all the while reducing risks from disaster, boosting water security and enhancing climate resilience. Learn More

The Coca-Cola Company is quantifying the water-related “Replenish” benefits derived through its Community Water Partnership (CWP) projects. The work described in this report builds on previous efforts, and provides a current status of quantification results for three categories of CWP … Learn More

Developers: Global Environment Technology Foundation (GETF), The Coca-Cola Company

Questions\ guidelines relating to food businesses answered by the WHO. Learn More

How to ensure the safety of staff and maintaining water quality in buildings with little or no use. Learn More

SAVEh is the platform through which Ambev shares its water management system free of charge with other companies, which has helped to reduce more than 40% of the company’s water consumption in the last 13 years. This water efficiency tool … Learn More

Developers: Ambev S/A

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Compass Business Tools inventory maps existing business tools against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It allows you to explore commonly used business tools that may be useful when assessing your organization’s impact on the SDGs. Learn More

The Colorado River Basin states face significant water challenges, including the overallocation of water, long-term drought, and climate change. This report, commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation, explores the potential for corporate water stewardship to help solve these challenges. Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

The City of Austin, Texas is facing an increasingly uncertain water future, from decreasing water supplies and more intense droughts to periodic flooding and water quality impairments. Austin is addressing these challenges head on, from investments in water efficiency and … Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

The world’s water resources are under increasing pressure from rising water consumption, pollution, and climate variability. The variety of water challenges companies face, from water governance issues to extreme events like drought, manifest in the river basins where the companies … Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

The Soil &amp; Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a small watershed to river basin-scale model used to simulate the quality and quantity of surface and ground water and predict the environmental impact of land use, land management practices and climate … Learn More

In response to the challenge of quantifying the business benefits, WaterAid, Diageo, GAP Inc., and Unilever have worked with PwC and ODI to develop a practical, step-by-step guide. The guide will help companies understand the business value of their WASH … Learn More

Developers: WaterAid

The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation is the world’s first voluntary sustainability standard for rice. The standard is complemented by a set of 12 quantitative performance indicators. By identifying “hotspots,” the indicators enable users to monitor … Learn More

The Forest Stewardship Council created the Principles of Forest Stewardship as a worldwide standard to promote environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests. Learn More

The AWS Standard is a globally-applicable framework for major water users to understand their water use and impacts, and to work collaboratively and transparently for sustainable water management within a catchment context. Learn More

Developers: Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)

This tool is an interactive map linking nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation outcomes based on a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature. Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

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Developers: World Economic Forum

Water is the lifeblood of California, providing for the household needs of 40 million people and supporting one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, various commercial and industrial activities, and the health and viability of the state’s … Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

ILO Sectoral Policies and Governance and Tripartism Departments present four self-training modules, which adapt existing ILO training tools on OSH to provide governments, workers and employers with the necessary skills to implement the general principles contained in relevant ILO instruments. … Learn More

Companies are increasingly setting and pursing ‘water balance targets’ as part of their water stewardship strategies. The seeming simplicity of balance goals can be attractive – “we will restore a volume of water equal to the amount our business consumes.” … Learn More

Developers: WWF

The Water Risk Filter can be used to assess and respond to water related risks for your own operations, suppliers, or growth plans. Learn More

Developers: WWF

Safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services are an essential part of preventing and protecting human health during infectious disease outbreaks, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Learn More

CTCN; UNEP Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; Water Witness International; WaterAid; WBCSD Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

IPIECA Learn More

Ceres Learn More

Ecolab Learn More

PRI; WWF Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; Pegasys; Water Witness International; WWF Learn More

The World Bank Learn More

UNEP-DHI Learn More

WBCSD Learn More

UN Water Learn More

OECD Learn More

UNICEF; WHO Learn More

River Threat Netwrok Learn More

CEO Water Mandate; WWF Learn More

Swedish Textile Water Initiative Learn More

Alliance for Water Stewardship Learn More

WaterAid Learn More

CEO Water Mandate Learn More

CEO Water Mandate Learn More

McKinsey Learn More

Toilet Board Coalition Learn More

Conservation International Learn More

UNEP Learn More

UN Water Learn More

AT&T; EDF; Global Environmental Management Institute (GEMI) Learn More

OECD Learn More

SAI Platform Learn More

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