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Armenia to improve the supply of drinking water throughout the country

Institutional reform in the water sector in Armenia will reach a new milestone in 2017 with the enactment of provisions on drinking water. As a result, a single water service operator will be chosen to supply drinking water for the entire country, instead of the five separate companies operating today. Importantly, the new operator will be required to provide water to some 500 communities that are not currently served by operators.

These measures were announced by the State Committee on Water Economy on 26 April 2016, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the launch of the National Policy Dialogue (NPD) on integrated water resources management in the country.

The provision of wastewater services in some settlements might also be included in the contract of the future service provider, a requirement that does not exist in current contracts with service providers. Although the coverage with improved sanitation for urban dwellers is 96%, the proper treatment of wastewater is largely absent in Armenia. There are currently four international companies or consortiums bidding for the 15-year contract with the Government.

At its fifteenth meeting celebrated on 26 April in Yerevan, the NPD Steering Committee reiterated its 2014 decision to seek Government support for the ratification of the UNECE-WHO/Europe Protocol on Water and Health, which Armenia signed in 1999. Armenia already satisfies two key obligations of Parties to the Protocol, having drafted national water and health targets and having submitted national implementation reports every three years. Formal approval of the drafted targets and the ratification of the Protocol would help in coordinating and monitoring the activities of different national agencies providing access to quality drinking water and reducing water-borne diseases.

Within the framework of the European Union Water Initiative and with core funding from the European Commission, UNECE and OECD began systematic support to water sector reforms in Armenia and the Republic of Moldova in 2006, with similar processes subsequently started in seven other countries.

For more information, please visit: www.unece.org/env/water/npd