President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening of Shamkirchay water reservoir and a hydroelectric power station.
Chairman of Azerbaijan Melioration and Water Management OJSC Ahmad Ahmadzade informed the head of state of the master plan of Shamkirchay water reservoir, schemes of Shamkirchay main irrigation canals, major indicators of the construction of the reservoir, and other facilities.
President Ilham Aliyev was shown the map of water reservoirs in Azerbaijan.
The head of state launched the hydroelectric power station and Shamkir water reservoir.
President Ilham Aliyev was informed of the hydroelectric power station. It was said that the facility will have a capacity of 25 megawatts. It will generate 56 million kWh of electric power per year.
Then the head of state was informed of Shamkirchay water reservoir, main hydrotechnical facilities, including main canals.
It was said that the total capacity of Shamkirchay water reservoir is 164,5 million cubic metres of water, while its net capacity is 156.3 million cubic metres.
It was said that a main canal was built here to pump water from Shamkirchay reservoir to the areas under cultivation, right-bank and left-bank canals, and the nutrient canal. Under instructions of the head of state it was defined that the reservoir will improve water supply to a total of 54,248 hectares of area in Shamkir, Goygol, Samukh and Goranboy districts.
The pumping of 1.6 cubic metres of water per second from Shamkirchay reservoir will improve the supply of drinking water to the cities of Ganja and Shamkir, and Nabiagali settlement in Samukh District.
Shamkirchay water reservoir is a very important contribution to socio-economic development of the country`s districts.
The head of state then met with participants of the ceremony.
President Ilham Aliyev said:
Today is a very remarkable day in the life of our country. We mark the opening of Shamkirchay water reservoir. I congratulate all of you on this occasion.
Five years ago we laid the foundation of this grandiose infrastructure facility. Intense work was carried out in these five years, and as a result of this today we mark the opening of this beautiful infrastructure facility. I express my gratitude to all those who contributed to this work – constructors, engineers. This infrastructure facility is indispensable for further development of Azerbaijan, our economic development.
Shamkirchay water reservoir, a hydroelectric power station, water canals compose a single complex. This infrastructure facility will greatly support the economy of the country, agriculture, development of entrepreneurship. The water reservoir will improve irrigation on the lands with the total area of 54,000 hectares, with a 17,000-hectare area to be irrigated again. Therefore this facility is of huge importance in terms of the development of agriculture. Farmers must use it effectively. And I`m sure they will. Work must already begin to carry out proper planning on the new irrigated areas – What will be cultivated there? What markets will it be exported to? Therefore, I think that we must take an integrated approach to these issues. In fact, certain work has already been done. Today the foundation of a large agropark will also be laid in Shamkir District. If this water reservoir was not built, the agropark would have not been constructed because we will invest large funds in it too and the main condition is irrigated lands.
This is a project that needs huge investment. Government funds amounting to more than 700 million manats have been invested in it. This is the second largest investment made in the non-oil sector after Takhtakorpu water reservoir. Late last year we marked the opening of Takhtakorpu water reservoir and canals. That project cost one billion manats. Today we mark the opening of Shamkirchay water reservoir. These two important projects certainly demonstrate the power of present-day Azerbaijan and direction of our policy as today our government is making huge investments, carrying out great work to develop agriculture, entrepreneurship. The government is making huge investment in the development of the non-oil sector. Preferential loans are granted in order to develop entrepreneurship yearly. More than 200 million manats in loans have been invested in the real sector of the economy.
Expanded meetings are held every year under my chairmanship in order to develop entrepreneurship. We also provide political support, economic issues are solved. Infrastructure projects relating to electric power stations, inner-village roads, drinking water, all these projects ensure overall development of our country and are a component of the State Program for socio-economic development of the districts.
As you know the first program was adopted in 2004. The third program is now being realized. Thanks to the implementation of the third program major infrastructure and social issues will be solved in our country until 2018.
As far as the development of agriculture, entrepreneurship is concerned, these are priorities for us. We must fully ensure our food security. Very important steps are being taken in this direction. We are already about to reach the goal of ensuring ourselves with basic food products to hundred percent. Fully ensuring food security, increasing the export potential will contribute both to the creation of jobs and improvement of people`s well-being.
Now we are seeking access to new export markets. There are new opportunities that we must effectively use. Certainly we must bring our agricultural production in conformity with the possible potential of export markets both now and in the future. All the work is being carried out according to the plan. First of all, domestic need must be met thanks to domestic production to hundred percent. At the same time we must gain access to new and traditional markets with the bigger volume of production. So in the years to come the development of agriculture will become dynamic, jobs will be created in the districts, unemployment will be at a very low level. As a result of the measures we took, particularly the realization of state programs for socio-economic development of the districts unemployment is now at the level of five percent in Azerbaijan. In the past 10 years 1.3 million jobs were created, which opens good opportunities for our country.
The development of entrepreneurship is in the focus of attention. I think that entrepreneurs will take advantage of these excellent opportunities. We also marked the opening of the hydroelectric power station today. It is also a beautiful project. Azerbaijan has completely ensured its energy security and is taking an active part, playing a big role in ensuring energy security of other countries. This role will gradually grow. However we must make efforts to increase our energy power, including through renewable types of energy. Great work is being done in this field too. Hydroelectric power stations are being built. Although small, but solar power plants are already being built. However hydropower is the priority among renewable types of energy. Several beautiful projects have been realized in the past few years. An electric power station with the capacity of 25 megawatts started to operate at Takhtakorpu water reservoir. A 25 megawatt electric power plant was built in Fuzuli District. A large power plant was built in Ordubad District, Nakhchivan. Great work was done to provide to almost hundred percent the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic with renewable energy types. And today in Shamkir we are about to reach our goal. We are inaugurating a 25 megawatt hydroelectric power plant. The construction of a new power plant is also possible, we are considering these issues. Obviously, we will manage to increase the potential of this facility to 45 megawatts. Off course, it is the cleanest and cheapest type of energy from an environmental point of view. This will allows us to export our oil and gas resources to foreign markets in bigger volumes.
It is the Azerbaijani government`s approach to this work. We have ensured our energy security. East-West and North-South transport corridors pass through Azerbaijan. We have realized large infrastructure projects.
As regards the new trade sea port, its first stage has already been inaugurated. New vessels are purchased. Huge investments are made in railways and air transport. New airports are built, modern aircrafts are purchased, new routes are opened. Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is also a historical project, which is already being realized. The project is about to be completed. So this is the transport infrastructure.
We have such a geographical location that we must become a transport hub not only for the region, but also for the world. Important decisions have recently been made on the realization of North-South transport corridor and restoration of the East-West ancient Silk road. At the same time, food, energy and transport security are our main priorities. Settlement of these issues will also give a big impulse to regional cooperation.
Azerbaijan is playing a leading role in the issues related to regional cooperation. Off course, transport, energy and gas projects dominate here, and all these issues contribute to the strengthening of regional security. I would like to reiterate that in Azerbaijan, there is government support for this work. All these projects are realized in a planned manner. Back in 2005 I signed an order on the construction of Shamkirchay water reservoir, hydroelectric power plant and water canals. Work started after this. Feasibility study was carried out. Foreign contractors were selected, and the work started.
But only through properly defining our long-term strategy we can achieve excellent results. The reason is that these grandiose projects take much time. Therefore the order was signed in 2005, work began in 2009, and in 2014 we mark the completion of this project. This will benefit Azerbaijan and strengthen our economic potential for centuries. Off course, the construction of water canals must be continued. The canals, which are currently under construction, will cover new lands in the size that I have already mentioned. But we have new, future plans, and we will manage to increase the size of the irrigated lands. The construction of canals will allow to irrigate additional lands with the total area of 20,000 or maybe even 30,000 hectares. This project covers the territory of four regions – Shamkir, Goygol, Samukh and Geranboy. As a result of the realization of this project agriculture in these regions will develop more rapidly. I would like to mention another point: at the same time the realization of this project will supply people with drinking water. Drinking water will be supplied to the cities of Shamkir and Ganja, as well as to several settlements in Samukh District. It is clean, quality, natural drinking water, and this project is also a component of large Shamkirchay complex.
Melioration, agriculture, entrepreneurship, energy security, drinking water, that is people`s health and development. These are factors that are concentrated in this project. Once again I would like to say that the realization of these projects was possible only thanks to strong will, a though-out, systematic policy of the Azerbaijani government. The financial and economic crisis continues in the world. Investment has considerably reduced. The financial crisis is deepening in some countries. Oil and gas rich countries are obviously concerned about the fall in oil prices. And it`s natural.
However Azerbaijan is realizing huge infrastructure and investment projects. Why? Because our people, our government needs it. Our government must become more powerful, economy must become more diversified. Dependence on oil and gas factor must further lessen. By realizing these projects we once again demonstrate that Azerbaijan can rapidly develop only when independent. For almost 200 years Azerbaijan`s oil has been renowned in the world. At the beginning Azerbaijan accounted for almost 70 percent of the world`s total oil production. During the World War II the Azerbaijani oil accounted for 70-80 percent of the Soviet energy potential.
But what was our situation when Azerbaijan gained independence?! Oil industry was in devastation. No work was carried out on old fields. Everything around reminded of an environmental catastrophe. Remember the outskirts of Baku. Bibiheybat facilities were an environment catastrophe. What was the situation in the Black town, Boyukshor Lake, other Balakakhani facilities?! We as an independent state inherited this. Oil production drastically reduced. We were unable to supply ourselves with natural gas. Although in the Soviet times natural gas was pumped from Azerbaijan to both Armenia and Georgia, we started to purchase natural gas from abroad. That was a picture in the beginning of our independence. So I would like to repeat that we managed to achieve all this in the years of independence because our destiny is in our hands.
The Azerbaijani people have a weighty say. Azerbaijan is governed by the will of people. The Azerbaijani government is realizing and will continue to realize such grandiose projects that our people and government need. We are a powerful state. In the past years thanks to economic and political reforms we have earned great respect on the global scale. According to calculations of Davos Economic Forum, we are 38th in the world in terms of competitiveness. We earned international influence, for two years we were a member of the most influential world body – the UN Security Council, where we were expressing our principled position, which is based on justice and international law. These are the fruits of independence, and the Azerbaijani people see, realize and value this.
We are working and will continue working for the people, for the strengthening of our state. I`m sure that the number of such huge projects will increase in the future. We have great plans. We look into the future with great optimism. Resolute, rapid development of Azerbaijan will continue, and we will reach all the goals set.
On this beautiful day I once again thank all friends, all those who participated in the construction of this grandiose infrastructure project. I heartily congratulate the whole people of Azerbaijan on the opening of Shamkirchay water reservoir complex.
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Chairman of Azerbaijan Melioration and Water Management OJSC Ahmad Ahmadzade emphasized the importance of the project, and hailed it as a remarkable event in the country`s economic life.
Director of “Vətən-az” LLC, farmer Azer Amiraslanov thanked the head of state for supporting the development of entrepreneurship and agriculture.
In conclusion a photo was taken.