A week without water: what is happening in Stepanakert?
The capital of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has been partially deprived of drinking water for a week, that is, 40% of the city. To solve the problem, the number of water tanks will be increased in the courtyards of Stepanakert. On top of that, it has been decided to launch the construction of the Patara reservoir.
Rumors that there was a problem with the water supply in Stepanakert spread on 9 August. Two versions of the causes of water shortage were discussed on social media. Some believed that it was due to the hot weather and insufficient rainfall, while others stated that it was Azerbaijan that cut off the water supply. However, neither one of the versions have been officially confirmed.
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What may be causing water shortage?
Stepanakert authorities denied Azerbaijan’s involvement in the city’s water shortage.
The mayor’s office and the city’s water company believe that the water shortage is primarily causedby abnormal weather conditions.
In addition, after the second Karabakh war, the population of the capital increased by about 30%. Some of the residents of those territories that, as a result of the war, came under the control of Azerbaijan, also moved here. Now 60, 000 people live in Stepanakert.
Thus, it turns out that this year there is less water in the reservoirs, and there are more residents of the city.
How is the issue being resolved?
The structure responsible for the water supply has been taking steps all week to somehow provide people with water. So far, the issue is being resolved by the delivery of water to residents by cisterns, multi-liter tanks, and even fire engines.
Moreover, people are warned that although all the necessary measures are being taken, the water supply will only be fully restored after the weather changes.
In the meantime, situational measures are being taken. In particular, the Mayor of Stepanakert David Sargsyan made a decision on August 10 to stop using water in all car washes and recreation areas. This will continue until the normal process of water supply in the city is restored.
Since August 15, the mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Nagorno-Karabakh has joined in the work to provide residents with drinking water. In the courtyards of residential buildings, which were left without water, they began to install cisterns with a capacity of 3-5 tons.
Immediate and long-term solutions
In the long term, the issue can be solved by the construction of the Patara reservoir. According to preliminary calculations, this project will cost 15 billion drams (30 million dollars). But for now, it is planned to build a pipeline that will connect the city’s water supply system with the Patara River. According to experts, it can be commissioned within a year.
It is assumed that the Patara reservoir will provide drinking water not only for the population of Stepanakert but also for about a dozen villages of the Askeran region. At the same time, the issue of irrigating more than 2,500 hectares of land will be resolved, which will greatly help farmers.
In the meantime, they plan to significantly increase the number of water tanks in the courtyards of residential buildings, as well as the volume and frequency of drinking water supply. Artesian wells that were dug earlier will be used again, and the construction of new ones is also planned.