Just a few months ago a significant portion of villagers in Choratan didn’t have decent and reliable access to safe drinking water. Residents of this small town, which is nestled in the Berd Region of Tavush Province, had to walk several hundred meters to the nearest tap anytime they needed to collect water before carrying it back to their homes in buckets and cans.

Villagers from Choratan finally decided to come together to solve the problem, and now the 50 out of its 150 resident families previously without their own water supply no longer have to leave their homes to get it.

The team of villagers pinpointed a potable water source with potential capacity to serve the families in need about 2.5 kilometers outside of Choratan. Villagers discussed the issue with the mayor before speaking with staff from FAR’s Berd office who implement the Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program. Villagers calculated that even if they were to design and build a water system on their own, they didn’t have money for the materials in Choratan’s budget.

After assessing the feasibility of the water source to provide for the whole village, FAR agreed to supply the community with the adequate funds, which enabled them to buy pipes and construction materials. The group then worked with an engineer from village administration who led construction efforts. It took Choratan residents two months to build the new system, even going as far as digging up 1 kilometer of exceptionally steep land by hand. The rest was excavated using machines. The result, they said, was worth the effort․

“About 10 people from the village participated in the work on a regular basis. Others helped us between one to two hours a day, as they were able. Everybody contributed to the effort to construct the new water system and make it work,” said project engineer Vardan Sahakyan.

Now, these 50 families have easy access to potable water. Plus, many others express pride in the fact that they were able to collaborate and find a solution.

“Water is a vital issue for the majority of rural communities in Armenia. Its absence naturally makes it harder for people to live normal lives. We at FAR are happy that with our support the people of Choratan could organize themselves and solve the problem through their own effort,” said FAR Economic Expert and Advisor Eric Baghdasaryan. “Ultimately, we are trying to find more constant and long-term solutions to water-related issues in Tavush’s Berd Region.”

This year FAR will support the construction and rehabilitation of drinking water systems in the villages of Artsvaberd, Aygedzor, Chinchin and Norashen, Eric said. During 2015, support from BCPP enabled construction and rehabilitation of drinking water systems in Tavush and Chinari villages as well.

“For years we had to travel so far for water and with great struggle. Thanks to this project we have water anytime—24 hours a day! We are very thankful to everybody who was involved in it,” said Choratan resident Udum Udumyan. “Let more projects like this be implemented in border villages like ours so that we can all have better lives.”