- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
June 04, 2004

A Dream or a Nightmare?

“Davitashen is Yerevan’s dream and future”, thinks Varazdat Avoyan, Manager of the World Bank-funded Municipal Development Project’s (MDP) Project Management Unit. In his assessment, the rehabilitation of Davitashen’s water system is a model for the whole city.

Like the rest of Yerevan, Davitashen was losing 60% of the water entering the district, and the citizens were receiving water only eight hours per day. Residents had formerly to carry water from fountains in the neighbourhood or knock at the doors of their neighbours in the lower floors.

With an investment of $1.5 mln USD water meters were installed. According to Avoyan, water losses were decreased to 10-15% and all the 30 000 residents of Davitashen have been provided with 24-hour water supply. [Nowadays whenever water stoppages occur, residents are immediately informed of the causes and do not panic.]

Davitashen is a small but very important part of the $ 35.5 mln USD MDP project. The project has resulted in the transfer of the Yerevan Water and Sewerage Company’s management to an Italian company, A Utility, under a management contract, and the installation of water-meters in 80% of the city. A second World Bank credit for $20 million will extend the project.

Not all see Davitashen as a perfect model, however. According to Vahan Hovhannissyan, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee investigating that project, “Monitoring has been conducted in four districts of Davitashen, the apartment blocs have been investigated, and these have turned out not to be provided with 24-hour water supply.”

According to local citizens, however, the supply and even the price has improved. A resident of Davitashen named Sophia says: “Formerly we had water only one-third of the day. Now we have water most of the day. The quality is good, and the price is affordable. We used to pay 400 drams per capita. Now we pay that much for the whole family. We only fear a raise in the rates. Another resident said that water now reached the top floors and residents no longer need to knock on their neighbour’s doors to ask for water.

Still, the dream is not yet complete for everyone. One lady who preferred not to be identified said: “A few days ago I opened the tap, and a leech came out. I’d prefer to have water not for twenty-four hours but of good quality.” Still another resident complained of having had milk-coloured water one day.
With higher rates on the horizon and concerns about water quality, only the future can tell the fate of Davitashen’s dream.

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