Azerbaijan to address water supply issue

By Nigar Orujova

A source of life – water – is a constantly pressing challenge for the countries that experience water shortage, and the number of such countries increases in the world. Azerbaijan is also one of such countries that now strive to provide water security for its people.

Key sources of water for Azerbaijan are the Kura, Araz and Samur rivers that originate outside of the country. This means that ensuring the water resource demand of Azerbaijan is a matter of not only the economy, but also the security of the country.

Azerbaijan uses different methods to deal with a problem, and one of them will be an agreement with neighboring Georgia on the use of water resources of the Kura River.

Azerbaijan is the only country in the region that ratified the Helsinki Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, Deputy Director for Science at Research and Design Institute Sukanaly of Azersu Adishirin Alekperov said at a press conference on November 26.

“We are very concerned about the pollution of the Kura and Araz rivers. The reason why other countries in the region have not ratified the convention is that in this case they will be obliged to prevent pollution of these rivers,” he stressed.

“There is a progress on this issue with Georgia, the country intends to connect to the convention. Azerbaijan and Georgia prepared a paper on the use of water resources of the Kura, which will be signed soon,” he added.

Unfortunately, the pollution of the Araz River remains open, Alekperov noted.

“Armenia continues to pollute the Araz with household and industrial waste, and the citizens of Azerbaijan living in the Central Aran, have to use this particular water,” he stressed.

The Ecology Ministry regularly reveals the facts of pollution of the river Araz, he noted. “We have repeatedly raised this issue in many international organizations. The World Water Council will be another platform where this issue will be raised.”

Azerbaijan elected to the governing board of the World Water Council, he said.

The World Water Council is one of the most authoritative international organizations dealing with global water issues.

The elections were held in the framework of the VII Assembly of the Council held on November 12-14 in Marseille, France. The governing board consists of 35 countries.

“As a member of the World Water Council, Azersu will take the necessary steps to address some of the problems. It is about the rational use of water resources, bringing water resources in suitable condition for the re-use with the use of new technologies,” said Alekperov.

Azersu company is Azerbaijan's water operator. This October, Azersu’s Jeyranbatan ultrafiltration water purification facility complex was opened to provide regular and high-quality drinking water to residential areas of Baku and the Absheron Peninsula.

The complex has a capacity of 6.6 cubic meters per second or 570,000 cubic meters per day. The water processed in the complex is transmitted to consumers via the Zira Jeyranbatan pipeline.

Relevant work is also conducted in the regions of the country.

Alekperov went on to add that the National Academy of Sciences jointly with Azersu prepared a program to recover underground water pipelines in Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

Underground water conduits are located in the Shamkir, Goy-Gol and in the Armenian-occupied Jabrail, Fizuli and Agdam regions of Azerbaijan.

“Underground water conduits or qanat are unique water system, which are used to this day. Many of them have been damaged by the massive digging of wells. We will improve the use of existing water lines and repair work came to unsuitability," said Alekperov.

With the new projects in the water provision issue, Azerbaijan may insure itself from the future water shortage problems.