ArmInfo. Armenia has defined the criteria for assessing the environmental impact in the construction and operation of small hydroelectric power plants. The relevant resolution was approved at a government meeting on March 1.
Minister of the Environment Artsvik Minasyan stated that despite the fact that hydropower is considered to be the environmentally preferable generator of electricity, however, studies in this area have identified certain problems in terms of meeting minimum ecological needs.
Minasyan pointed out that 10 criteria have been developed that deal with the presence of endemic species of aquatic flora and fauna registered in the Red Book of Armenia, maintaining the actual flow of water at a level not exceeding the environmental allowance defined by the permit for water use, the availability of sanitary protection areas of aquatic ecosystems, the presence of natural monuments within a radius of 150 meters, and landslides, the presence of roads or the need for their construction in the areas of construction of small hydroelectric stations, the distance from settlements, the impact of noise but the environment and human health. It is also envisaged to suspend the validity of hydro power plant licenses in the case of 40% or more workloads of rivers by diversion pipes.
As earlier in the conversation with the correspondent of ArmInfo the famous in the country specialist on water resources, Ph.D. Qnarik Hovhannisyan, despite the fact that hydroelectric power plants are the most environmentally safe in the list of other alternative sources of electricity, in recent years, due to the extremely extensive construction of small hydropower stations in Armenia on the waterways of the republic, the ecological status of aquatic ecosystems has deteriorated sharply. This is due to the violation of the regime of environmental releases, which hinder the conservation of biodiversity (flora and fauna) of aquatic ecosystems. Among other factors of the disturbance of normal activity of natural ecosystems, the expert considers frequent excess of the established water withdrawal limits, violation of the norms of construction and operation of hydraulic structures.