S.O.S. Sevan Initiative to MPs: Don't Allow 100 Million Cum Additional Water Intake from Lake Sevan

S.O.S. Sevan Initiative to MPs: Don't Allow 100 Million Cum Additional Water Intake from Lake Sevan

“S.O.S. Sevan” Initiative

S.O.S. Sevan Initiative

S.O.S. Sevan Initiative has applied to the Members of Parliament urging them not to permit additional water intake from Lake Sevan in the amount of 100 million m3, and not to accept the government's proposals to make amendments to RA Law 'On Approving Annual and Complex Programs for Recovery, Conservation, Reproduction and Use of Lake Sevan Ecosystem'.

S.O.S. Sevan Initiative has also addressed an open letter to Armenian PM Karen Karapetyan urging him to call back this draft resolution.

S.O.S. Sevan Initiative is also calling for the society to join them and protest against this hazardous resolution.

'The residents of Lake Sevan littoral areas are extremely concerned with this initiative of the Armenian Government, which plans to let out additional 1 billion cum water from Lake Sevan within 3 years. On 23 June the Armenian Government decided to amend RA Law 'On Approving Annual and Complex Programs for Recovery, Conservation, Reproduction and Use of Lake Sevan Ecosystem and add water outlet from Lake Sevan by 100 million cum, which is the first step in this hazardous initiative of the Armenian Government.

In this regard, RA Nature Protection Ministry has submitted its position, which particularly says, 'The recovery of the ecological balance in Lake Sevan is the top environmental priority in the Republic of Armenia. According to Section 5 (5.1) of RA Law 'On Approving Annual and Complex Programs for Recovery, Conservation, Reproduction and Use of Lake Sevan Ecosystem', it's planned to annually increase the annual level of Lake Sevan by about 21.6 meters. The volume of Lake Sevan water will increase by about 8.8 billion m3, as envisaged in the complex program, which is equal to to the increase in the lake level by 6.5 meters.
As of 1 January 2002, the level of Lake Sevan made up 1896.32 meters. As of 2002-2017 the level of Lake Sevan has increased by 4.14 meters, including an increase of 3.81 meters from 2002 to 2011.

As of 2012-2016, the lake level increased by 0.36 meters (on average, annually 7.2 cm), which is less than the statutory plan by 0.72 cm (1.08 meters for 5 years, annually 21.6 cm). In the same period, 577.2 million cum water entered Lake Sevan through Arpa-Sevan aqueduct, which is less than the statutory plan ny 922.8 million cum 1500.0 million cum.'
According to the third national communication on climate change (2015), water temperature forecasts have been given under different scenarios for 2030, 2050 and 2100, according to which the temperature of Lake Sevan level will increased by 3.6-4 C as compared with the basic one by 2100. Consequently, it can be concluded that the inflow into Lake Sevan as compared with the basic one (787 million cum) will reduce by over 50 million cum in 2030, 110 million cum in 2070 and 190 million cum in 2100, respectively, that is, the lake level will start reducing by annually around 16 cm. The climate change conditions estimate, if the temperature of water in Lake Sevan increases by 1 degree, we will experience loss of 71 million cum, and will lose another 36 million cum in case of reduction of precipitation.

Taking additional 1 billion cum water out of Lake Sevan will result in the decrease in the lake level by 80 cm, which will disturb the vulnerable balance of Lake Sevan having formed in recent years and the lake will undergo eutrophication.

Reservoir processes will get activated and biogenic elements will transport from the silt to water environment, which will again result in the increase in temperature with all its negative consequences. Hundred hectares will turn into land, the dehydration of littoral areas will lead to the elimination of the protection zone of macrophites having partially recovered to the water increase, which limits the impact of drainage basin on the lake. Furthermore, organic remainders decayed from the previous water-covered area will penetrate into the lake, thus adding their concentration in the water, while further flooding of these areas will promote contamination process and will endanger the new spawning spots of the fish.

Currently colossal investments have been made in the recovery of the industrial reserves of endemic fish species in the lake, nevertheless, if the conditions of salmon fish species get deteriorated, this project is also doomed to failure. Besides, a serious economic rationale is needed whether the economic value of 1 billion cum water is more than the money and efforts spent on wide-scale and complex works carried out in these years to have increase in water level.

Taking into consideration the circumstance that any wrong intervention may have negative consequences, plus powerful reservoirs constructed in Turkey in recent years (with total volume of 1.8 billion m3), which will reduce the flow of transboundary water into Armenia and vulnerability based on climate conditions, I'm proposing to the reserve of additional water accumulated in Lake Sevan (1 billion cum) to remain unchanged, while the water amount set for irrigation to be let out of Lake Sevan through Sevan-Hrazdan irrigation energetic system to keep at 170 million m3, as set in Clause 5.1 of the law.'

The life in Lake Sevan water quality and biodiversity, are closely connected with the lake level. The people living on the littoral areas of Lake Sevan can see when Sevan level decreased, the lake gets died and when the level gets up, the lake revives. We are conscious that the increase in the lake level may harm the littoral buildings, but we would like to remind that there are over 4700 illegal buildings on the shore of Lake Sevan, but only a small number has been dismantled. Expensive buildings have remained and it's already several years since the Armenian Government can't decide how to deal with these buildings.
It's not the first time since that the Armenian Government has been raising the issue of additional water intake from Lake Sevan and each year the reasons for additional water intake are less unconvincing.

In this regard, we share the opinion of RA Nature Protection Ministry, which was given to the Armenian Government on the additional water intake and send to Gegharkounik-based 'Blejan' NGO in reply to their enquiry.

We are calling National Assembly not to adopt the governmental proposals and not to make amendments to RA Law 'On Approving Annual and Complex Programs for Recovery, Conservation, Reproduction and Use of Lake Sevan Ecosystem'.

We shouldn't forget that Sevan is the largest freshwater repository in Sevan region and we don't have a right to waste this divine reward, which may turn into only hope for rescue and prosperity for our country in near future. We hope that the newly-elected National Assembly won't start its activities with the adoption of a law contradicting to public interests and won't have any partial attitude to such strategic issues as Sevan issue.

The recovery of the ecological balance of Lake Sevan is a top environmental priority for Armenia,' the application letter of S.O.S Sevan initiative says.

This application has also been sent to the Chairman of National Assembly Ara Babloyan, Vardevan Grigoryan - Chairman of RA National Assembly Standing Committee on Territorial Administration, Local Governance, Agriculture and Nature Protection, Hrayr Tovmasyan Chairman of RA National Assembly Standing Committee on State, Law and Human Rights, 'Yelq', 'Armenian Revolutionary Federation' and 'Tsarukyan' factions.

S.O.S Sevan initiative has been formed to raise awareness on the projects, resolutions and legislative initiatives by the Armenian Government posing danger for Lake Sevan and to promote public participation in the protection of Lake Sevan.

19:35 June 23, 2017


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