The Armenian Government wants to take additional 1 billion cum of water from Lake Sevan in upcoming three years. 'Blejan' NGO has made an enquiry to RA Nature Protection Ministry in this regard and received the following reply.
'The Armenian Government has given an assignment to submit financial assessment of economically beneficial use of additional expenses of extra water accumulated in Lake Sevan (1 billion cum) for upcoming three years together with RA Minister for Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources and RA Agriculture Minister taking into consideration the environmental problems and the circumstance of forming a sustainable fund in energy sector in future.
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 'On Approving Annual and Complex Programs for Recovery, Conservation, Reporduction 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 tranport 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 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 into the recovery of the industrial reserves of endemif 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-sclae 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.
15:42 April 19, 2017