Speech of Chingiz Ismayilov, Doctor of Economic Sciences, ACSDA’s expert, at “Sarsang SOS ” international conference in Tartar on September 7, 2013

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This project is very important for Azerbaijan.The selected region is Tartar because use of Sarsang water resources is very significant for Tartar region.

You know, Azerbaijan is generally located in drought area, and Sarsang is also semi-dry area, and demand of water is very important here.Sarsang was seriously damaged for long. In other words, we should analyze this project in two aspects. First, Tartar and

Secondly, if to consider the technical state of Sarsang reservoir since its exploitation, if any accident or diversion by Armenia occurs, how much the damage will be. I believe that we should realize this project in two directions.

First of all, we should talk about the damage. The head of executive power mentioned very good facts. Less than 7% of water demand is provided with Tartar River. However, even artesian wells do not fully meet the water demand. Now imagine if electrical power is consumed much, it will also influence the net price of the products. In other words, the net price of agricultural products planted in Tartar will cost more expensive due to consumption of electrical power in great amount. This is the economic aspect of the issue.

The second point is decrease of productivity of soil. I was observing roads on my way here and noted small workshops producing gravel till the parts where the river flows. This is also a very significant environmental issue. If such amount ofstone is produced and processed from the riverbed and if this river flows with full of energy, environmental changes will emerge. This should be taken into consideration.

The third important point is decrease of fertility of soil. Due to lack of water, the productivity of soil decreases. Naturally, the quantity of the product decreases.

As I know, the level of ground water decreases and the wells are drilled deeper and deeper, thus the consumption of electrical power still increases. All these factors undermine the economy.

Generally, everybody knows that the problem of power economy will be the problem of water in the 21st century. There exist even hypotheses that wars will be waged for water in the 21st century. Azerbaijan is a dry area as well. Water is of vital importance for Azerbaijan.Undoubtedly, the fact that Armenians provide water in small quantities in summer and in large quantities in winter greatly damages the economy of the region and surrounding regions.

The fourth important point is a social problem. If the number of people working in agriculture decreases, this is a social problem. The population forcefully switches fromtheir traditional habits to other spheres. Perhaps a part of them has already migrated. Let me tell you an interesting idea. One day these people may reach the level when they’d decide to wage a war. This is also expected; this is also a social problem. If people suffer from lack of water, this is a very serious problem and which consequences may it have? Although the leadership of the region and the country keeps it under special control, allocates finance, drills wells, these are not enough. I mean this should be naturally.

On our way here I observed that ravines appeared in some areas. The reason is lack of water. We know that one of the biggest problems in the world is anthropogenic, i.e.man-induceddesertification. Now Tartar is subject to a very unique process, I noted it. Anthropogenic desertification emerges here irrespective of the lack of water, Armenian impact, deprivation of water, and people’s willingness. This is very unpleasant.

Social, environmental, and economic problems are huge. I, as the ACSDA expert, head of Regional Development Center of Azerbaijan believe that at the next stage of the project we’ll address these issues andprepare our calculations regarding social and environmental damage due to stoppage of water from Sarsang reservoir. I believe that at the second stage there are a few models here in the slide, now we prepare models. If an accident happens, if the reservoir explodes, which regions and which villages will directly flood. I mean this is a model, just a version, but we’ll define it on the basis of accurate calculations and submit two or three maps. I’ve brought a map. We’ve marked the areas already damaged in Nagorno Karabakh map. By specifying it, we’ll compile a wider-scale one and show which area was subject to damage and in case of accident how the area may change.

I’m thankful that such a project is being realized and I’d like local people to know that this region is a great danger and measures in this direction should be intensified. Thank you!