French water management multinational Veolia Eau has won a tender to upgrade Armenia's water distribution network, Arka news agency reported on November 2 citing Arsen Harutyunyan, the head of the country's state-owned water company. The French water company has endeavoured to invest AMD80bn (€155.3mn) in the next 15 years in upgrading the system, the official added.
Armenia's utility infrastructure is old and inefficient, which leads to higher costs of maintenance and operations. Electric utilities have been particularly under fire in recent years, as subsequent hikes in electricity tariffs led to widespread protests against the operating company. However, impoverished Yerevan, which already runs on budget deficits to cover essential spending, has been unable to repair and upgrade its ageing infrastructure. Rural areas are particularly affected by this problem.
Starting in January, Veolia Eau will manage five water distribution companies in Armenia - Yerevan Jur, the national Armenian Water and Sewage Company, and the water companies of the Armavir, Shirak and Lori regions. Also starting in January, Yerevan will institute a single, countrywide tariff for water supply and wastewater collection and treatment.
Veolia Eau is currently operating Yerevan-Jur, and will take over the management of the other four companies from France's Saur.
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