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WASHINGTON – More than 630 Armenian farmers will directly benefit from improved water service delivery, thanks to a US$2 million loan for Additional Financing of the Irrigation System Enhancement Project, signed today by Armenia and the World Bank. The financing aims to further assist the Government in its efforts to ensure efficient, cost effective and sustainable irrigation, through reduced use of energy and improved timing of water supply.

Additional investments will include the construction of a tertiary system to supplement the planned Baghramyan-Norakert Gravity Scheme, as the existing tertiary system is unable to reliably deliver irrigation water directly to farmers’ plots. Financing was originally provided only for the gravity structure, plus the main and secondary canals. Rehabilitation of the tertiary system will therefore ensure that the benefits of the initial investment are fully realized. 

“This activity builds upon the results achieved so far by the ongoing project. The Bank’s intervention will decrease water shortages experienced by farmers, increase reliability of water supply and timely delivery, which in turn will allow for an increase in productivity,” said Sylvie Bossoutrot, World Bank Country Manager for Armenia. “In addition, the reconstructed tertiary system will be designed to encourage farmers to have a choice of on-farm technologies, such as drip irrigation.”

The Baghramyan-Norakert Gravity Scheme embraces the construction of an approximately 5km long feeder canal to receive water from the Tkahan Canal (whose original source is Lake Sevan), and delivers it through the reconstructed gravity system to about 573 ha of agricultural land, helping 635 farmers in the cultivation of their vineyards and orchards. Following the construction of the canal, the three pump stations (Norakert-1-2 and Baghramyan-1) that have exceeded their working life will no longer be needed.

Another achievement of the project is the completion of construction of three lots of the Meghri gravity scheme. The construction of the Geghardalich gravity scheme, as well as two lots of the Kaghstrashen gravity scheme are under way, both of which have been modified to address concerns of residents of the Goght and Garni communities. Expected outcomes include energy savings of about 36.4 million kilowatt hours (kw/h) annually, equivalent to about 30% of the total irrigation needs in Armenia. The rehabilitation of selected diversion canals has also been completed, leading to improvement in the conveyance efficiency of the outlet canals by reducing water losses by about 23 million cubic meters annually.

The Additional Financing of the Irrigation System Enhancement Project, in the amount of US$ 2 million, is an IBRD loan with a variable spread, with a 14.5-year grace period and repayment of 25 years.

Since joining the World Bank in 1992 and IDA in 1993, total IDA and IBRD commitments to Armenia have amounted to US$ 2.3 billion.

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