Raising Voices to Save Water: Reducing Groundwater Loss in Armenia’s Ararat Valley. Global Waters, July 2019.
The Ararat Valley, a 1,300-kilometer swath of fertile land in western Armenia, lies in the shadow of Mount Ararat. The valley is known as the breadbasket of the country.
“It feeds about half the population,” says Armen Varosyan, project director of USAID’s Participatory Utilization and Resource Efficiency of Water (PURE Water) project.
He explains that a clean and accessible groundwater reservoir fuels the region’s productivity. But, Varosyan says, “There is a problem.” Armenia’s natural groundwater is drying up.
In the past, “Villages could dig [a shallow] hole and the water would fountain,” explains Armine Tukhikyan, a PURE Water technical expert, because of highly pressurized water located just a few meters below the ground.
However, over the last 35 years, and especially in the last decade, the groundwater in the Ararat Valley has been steadily depleted, reduced from 33,000 to less than 11,000 hectares.
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