PRESS OFFICE
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Karine Abalyan
Tel: (212) 686-0710; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.armenianchurch.net


August 31, 2009

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ARTASHA T WATER SUPPLY PROJECT BRINGS SAFE DRINKING WATER TO ARMENIA'S ARARAT
REGION THANKS TO EFFORTS OF USAID, FAR

On Wednesday, August 26, His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and
Catholicos of All Armenians, conducted a water blessing ceremony in the
village of Qaghtsrashen, where church leaders and government officials
gathered to celebrate the completion of the Artashat Water Supply Project -
a water distribution system that will serve the town of Artashat and 27
surrounding villages in Armenia's Ararat region.

Attending the ceremony were Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, President of the
Fund for Armenian Relief and Primate of the Diocese f the Armenian Church of
America (Eastern); Marie L. Yovanovitch, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of
Armenia; Hovik Abrahamian, Speaker of Armenia's National Assembly; and other
clergy and dignitaries.

The Artashat Water Supply Project was financed by a $3.16 million grant from
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and executed by
the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) in cooperation with the government of
Armenia.

His Holiness Karekin II thanked USAID, the U.S. government, FAR, and the
faithful of the Eastern Diocese for helping realize this project. With
Archbishop Barsamian, Ambassador Yovanovitch, and Speaker Abrahamian, His
Holiness cut the ribbon symbolizing the official opening of the new water
system and proceeded to bless the water.

"For us, today's ribbon-cutting is an example of the obstacles that can be
overcome, and the great goals that can be achieved, through collaborative
effort, intelligent use of resources and expertise, and an atmosphere of
mutual trust and openness," said Archbishop Barsamian.

Over the course of two years, crews cleaned and restored two existing
reservoirs and added a third 4,000-cubic-meter reservoir, bringing the
system's total reservoir capacity to 8,000 cubic meters of water.

Work also involved the installation of nearly 50 kilometers of water mains
and lines, which will make it possible to distribute clean drinking water
from Garni sources to some 100,000 people living in the Ararat region.

The new water system, which will be managed by the Armenian Water Company,
will eliminate the need to pump water from local wells - a practice that was
both unsafe and inefficient.

"I am confident that the project will significantly improve the health and
well-being of people in this area," said Ambassador Yovanovitch, "and will
support the government of Armenia in its efforts to foster economic
development of the regions outside of Yerevan."

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Photos attached.

Photo 1: His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of
All Armenians; Marie L. Yovanovitch, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of
Armenia; and Hovik Abrahamian, Speaker of Armenia's National Assembly, cut
the ribbon symbolizing the official opening of the new water system in the
Ararat region.

Photo 2: His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of
All Armenians, conducts a water blessing ceremony in celebration of the
completion of the Artashat Water Supply Project.