- Two renovated hydrological monitoring posts in Armenia (left: Aparavan reservoir, Hartavan community.
- Right: Hrazdan river, Argel community) ©Hydromet
Six hydrological observation stations run by the Hrazdan River Basin hydro-meteorological service have been renovated and fitted with modern equipment thanks to funding from the European Union Water Initiative Plus programme. The modernisation of Armenia’s hydrological observation infrastructure will lead to better data management systems and forecasting, meaning improved calculations of the water balance and more exact conclusions on the hydro-morphological status of rivers and the impact of human activities. Based on this information, water managers will be able to take decisions on the best and most cost-efficient water resources protection measures.
This is a translation and summary of an article initially published on 2 April 2020 in “Republic of Armenia Daily”, the main newspaper in Armenia.
Modernisation of the hydrological observation infrastructure to monitor water with greater precision
Levon Azizyan, newly appointed Director of the Hydrometeorology and Monitoring Centre of the Republic of Armenia, noted that the existing observation tools and equipment need updating. Hydrometeorology mainly used manual instruments, which require high human intervention, and the lack of forecasters created a challenge in providing operational, uninterrupted forecasting services in order to introduce new forecasting models. This lack of appropriate equipment made it difficult to provide precise localised information and reliable forecasts. Levon Azizyan also mentioned the need to train personnel and highly qualified specialists.
The new automatic hydrological stations will transmit hydro-meteorological data without direct human participation, and so minimise potential errors and increase efficiency. Thanks to these automatic stations, the information is available at any time (and not only at fixed hours as was previously the case).
The automatically digitised data can be used to access various models, view perennial data series, perform statistical analysis, compile graphs, and more. This will thus increase the quality and operability of the hydrometeorological information provided. The automated monitoring system will increase the reliability of forecasts.
Hydrological observation for sustainable water management in Armenia
Hydrological observations in Armenia are carried out at 93 hydrological observation points, 84 of them on rivers, 5 on large strategic reservoirs, and 4 on Lake Sevan.
Armenia adopted a new Water Code in 2002, which regulates many aspects of national water policy, including the development of water basin management plans. Article 19 defines the actions needed to establish an effective Water Resources Monitoring and Information System with the aim, among others, of forecasting floods and mudflows and developing a Comprehensive Nationwide Drought Monitoring Programme.
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Hydromet (Hydro meteorological) was until recently the state structure in Armenia that carried out meteorological observations and hydrological observations of surface water resources (rivers, lakes, reservoirs). In early 2020, Hydromet merged with the Environmental Monitoring and Information Centre and with the Forest Monitoring Centre. The unified organisation is called “Hydrometeorology and Monitoring Centre”. On 7 April 2020, by Decree of the Minister of Environment, Levon Azizyan was appointed Director of the newly created Centre. Levon Azizyan was previously Deputy Director of Hydromet.
EUWI+: Launched in September 2016 for a duration of 4 years, the European Union Water Initiative plus for the Eastern Partnership (EUWI+) is one of the biggest policy dialogue and technical support commitments of the European Union to the water sector in the Eastern Partner countries. The programme supports the six partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) to align their legislation with European Union policy on water management, with a focus on transboundary rivers. The project is co-funded by the European Union (EUR 23.5 million) and Austria and France (EUR 1.0 million). It is implemented by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and an EU member states consortium comprising the Environment Agency Austria (Austria) and the International Office for Water (France).