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South Caucasus River Monitoring Project

Funded by Science for Peace Programme, North Atlantic Treaty Organization;
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

NATO Project Director: Dr. Michael E. Campana
Country Project Directors: Dr. Nodar Kekelidze, Georgia;
Dr. Bahruz Suleymanov, Azerbaijan; Dr. Armen Saghatelyan, Armenia
Dr. Freddy Adams, Belgium; Dr. Eiliv Steinnes, Norway
Visit the official project WWW site:

The Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia jointly utilize the Kura and Araks rivers, and they share common problems related to municipal, agricultural, and industrial river pollution. These rivers supply water for direct human use, so that both social and economic development in the region is related to both the quality and quantity of water resources. Political instability in the region may be exacerbated by water disputes, which establish a link between maintaining a viable, high-quality freshwater resource and future regional stability.

Click here for a more detailed regional mapMonitoring and management of transboundary water resources are complex problems in any region of the world. The problem in the case of the KuraAraks river system is complicated by the fact that, for all practical purposes, the system of information exchange has broken down, having declined after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Soviet studies from the 1950s through the 1980s monitored water quality and stream discharge, but these projects do not exist anymore. There are presently no scientific studies or data-collection systems extant in the Caucasus related to transboundary surface water quality and quantity.

Information on the environmental quality of water resources is necessary for the development of short-term and long-term plans for the economic and social development of the countries of the South Caucasus, especially planned large projects for the construction of oil and gas pipelines, a EuropeCaucasusAsia transport corridor, and other projects. The major goal of this work will be to create a database of baseline water quality parameters, which will become the basis for assessing the effects of various anthropogenic (land use, etc.) and climatic factors on water quality.

The objectives of the project are to:

1. Iincrease technical capabilities (monitoring, analytical and communications) among partner countries;
2. Establish standard sampling, analysis and data management techniques for all partner countries;
3. Establish data, GIS and model sharing systems accessible to all partners via the WWW; and
4. Establish a social framework (i.e., annual international meetings) for watershed management.

Three sub-projects will accomplish the aforementioned objectives:

1. Sample and data collection preparation and training;
2. Sample and data collection expeditions and laboratory analyses; and
3. Transboundary watershed management system development.

The latter will be accomplished by using commercially-available dynamic simulation software, such as STELLA.

Other UNM faculty participating in the project include Dr. Tim J. Ward, Chair and Professor, Department of Civil Engineering; and Dr. Bill Fleming, Associate Professor, Community and Regional Planning Program.

Mailing Address:
Water Resources Program
MSC05 3110
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001 USA
Physical Address:
SSCI-Economics Building, #57
1915 Roma Avenue NE
Albuquerque, NM 87131
Contact Info:
Voice: 505-277-7759
Fax: 505-277-5226

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