Armenia - New Water Code, National Water Policy and National Water Program

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Making the best of what you have

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, water management in Armenia suffered considerably. To name just one example, the level of Lake Sevan, a major water body, dropped because excessive amounts of its resources were used to generate hydropower. Institutions and coordination mechanisms were weak, which caused the situation to deteriorate even further.

The overall goal of the project, which was supported by the World Bank and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), was to introduce integrated water resources management(IWRM) principles in Armenia.

Goros Water Storage
Goros Water Storage

The following objectives were established: the improvement of water resources management through decentralization, strategic planning, increased capacities, and the establishment of a comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the sector. UNDP contributed to the overall water reforms through building links with neighbouring countries to address transboundary water problems.

On 4 June 2002 Armenia adopted a new Water Code, which was one of the most important steps in reforming the water sector. It calls for the creation of a national water policy and contains significant provisions on planning and managing the country's water basins. The Code also makes it possible to use economic tools for water resources management and cost recovery.

The Water Code enabled the creation of new institutional framework which is being implemented by three agencies. The Ministry of Nature Protection, through its Water Resources Management Agency , is implementing water resources management and protection. The Ministry of Territorial Administration, through its State Committee on Water Economy, is implementing the management of water systems. And the Public Services Regulatory Commission is implementing tariff policy in water relations.

There have been other milestones, such as passing in 2005 the law ‘On Fundamental Provisions of the National Water Policy' which represents a prospective development concept for the use and protection of water resources and water systems.

In addition, the draft law ‘On the National Water Programme' has been developed, which is currently in the process of adoption. It will guide the development of water basin management plans and the classification of water resources. The law will serve as the basis for integrated water resources management, and will support more efficient management and protection of water resources.

Because of the above-mentioned legal and institutional reforms, Armenia is one of the leaders in the region in the area of water resources management. The country is willing to share its experiences across the region and beyond.

Context

New Water Code, National Water Policy and National Water Program

Focus Areas

Geographic Scope

Stakeholders

World Bank and USAID supported the process through their projects on Integrated Water Resources Management and Sustainabale Water Resources Management

Contacts

Armen Martirosyan, Portfolio Manager, Environmental Governance, UNDP Armenia


Contents

Background and Significance

After collapse of the former Soviet Union and economic difficulties, water resources management in Armenia suffered a lot. Level of Lake Sevan was dropping due to overuse of lake's resources for generating hydropower. The overall management of water resources was weak, institutions were weaken, and management in general was unintegrated.

Weak coordination among various water sector agencies led to deterioration of situation, increased water losses, which threated with collapse of the entire system.

Goal and Objectives

The overall goal of the projects was to introduce integrated water resources management principles in the Republic of Armenia. Objectives to achieve the goal were set as improvement of water resources management through decentralization, strategic planning, increased capacities, and establishment of comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the sector.

The Experience: Challenges and Solutions

WHAT

Integrated Water Resources Management was an innovate approach for Armenia to tackle water management issues. It does include social, economic and environmental perspective taking into account the interests of all sectors.

In addition to this, emphasis on decentralized and democratic water governance system was also prerogative for success. Although this process is still underway, but the positive results can be seen now.

All this is supplemented by increased public participation and more active role of civil society in decision making, which increases efficieny and transparency of water sector management in the country.

WHO

The main stakeholders included Ministry of Nature Protection through its various agencies, State Committee on Water System, Public Services Regulatory Commission, Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Education and Science, National Assembly, Local-Self Government Authorities, as well as representative of NGOs and community-based organizations.

WHERE

The geographic area covered by the project included the entire country with a special attention to local communities, as transition to decentralized management of water resources is undertaken.

WHEN

Reforms in water sector in Armenia were initiated since 1999. In 2002 new Water Code was adopted, in 2005 - Fundamental Provisions on National Wate Policy, and in 2006 - draft National Water Program. These reforms enabled creation of comprehensive legal and institutional framework for integrated water resources management in the country.

HOW

The process of reforming legal and institutional framework for water management in Armenia was initiatied with active participation of all stakeholders organizations. Active public participation was also key to the buy-in local local stakeholders.

The advantages of integrated river basin management were explained and discussed. Particularly such approach promotes decisions on water distribution based on water supply rather than on demand, creates basis for estbalishment of the state water cadaster information system, obliges decision makers to provide water use permits based on available information, and makes it possible to employ economic instruments to cover water mangement costs.

Results and Impact

On June 4th of 2002 the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia adopted a new Water Code. It calls for creation of a national water policy and contains significant provisions on planning and management of the water basins.

Lessons for Replication

Main Results

Dilijan Park
Dilijan Park

Water Code enabled creation of new institutional framework in Armenia, according to which water management is being implemented by the following three saparate agencies:

1. Ministry of Nature Protection through its Water Resources Management Agency implements water resources management and protection;

2. Ministry of Territorial Administration through its State Committee on Water Economy implements management of water systems;

3. Public Services Regulatory Commission implements tariff policy in water relations.

In addition to this, in 2002 Transboundary Water Resources Commission was established, chaired by the Head of Water Resources Management Agency.

Basin management principle is mentioned in the New Water Code in order to promote more efficient, decentralized management. For this purpose five basin management organizations have been established in Armenia under the Water Resources Management Agency.

In 2005 Law on Fundamental Provisions of National Water Policy was adopted, which is a perspective development concept on strategic use and protection of water resources and water systems.

Outlook (Conclusions and Next Steps)

As a next step draft Law on National Water Program has been adopted in 2006, which is now pending approval of the Parliament. The National Water Program is the main document governing the current and future trends of water resources and water systems management and protection.

Adoption of the Law will promote the process of development of intregrated river basin management plans, form water resources supply, and categorize water resources. Eventually, this processes will lead to more efficient and integrated management and protection of water resources.

Interviewees and Key Contacts

Mr. Vladimir Narimanyan;

Deputy Head of Water Resources Management Agency;

E-mail: narimanyan@wrma.am

Testimonies and Stakeholder Perceptions

Timeframe & Status

The World Bank project on Integrated Water Resources Management was active in 1999-2001, USAID's Sustainable Water Resources Management project from 2001-2005. The New Code was adopted in June 2004.

References

See also

Water Knowledge Fair 2006

External Resources

http://www.wrma.am

http://www.pacosulting.am

Attachments

 National Water Policy English Final.doc

 Water Code Final English.doc

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