Lake Sevan – Victim of Energetic Interests

Lake Sevan – Victim of Energetic Interests


Lake Sevan has become a victim of energetic interests, which dominate over the laws preserving Lake Sevan. The interests of the owners of energy companies are represented, first of all, by 'International Energetic Corporation' CJSC. The company owns Sevan-Hrazdan Hydrocascade, which uses the water of Lake Sevan flowing through Sevan-Hrazdan canal to produce electricity. The cascade consists of 7 stations with the aggregate capacity of 561 MW.

'International Energetic Corporation' CJSC registered in the Republic of Armenia on 8 May 2003 and is the first producing company of 'Inter RAO UES'. In 2011 the shares of 'International Energetic Corporation' CJSC were obtained by 'Rus Hydro' OJSC. On the official website of 'Rus Hydro' OJSC,, 'International Energetic Corporation' CJSC is mentioned with two sentences in the section of international activities, that the company operates Sevan-Hrazdan Cascade on the Hrazdan River in Armenia. 'International Energetic Corporation' CJSC is not represented in the assets of 'Rus Hydro' OJSC. In 2016 'Rus Hydro' OJSC reached a decision to sell Sevan-Hrazdan Hydrocascade and informed about its intention to receive proposals from the potential buyers. Nevertheless, so far Sevan-Hrazdan Cascade is not included in the list of the assets for sale by 'Rus Hydro' OJSC. It is not a secret that the low productivity of electricity in the hydrocascade is, particularly, conditioned with the limitation of water outlets through Sevan-Hrazdan canal from Lake Sevan.

Water outlets are permitted only for irrigation purposes, the maximum volume is 170 million cum, so the hydrocascade can use Sevan water only in the irrigation period. Passing through the power stations of the hydrocascade the water is directed to Ararat Valley for the irrigation of agricultural land areas. The website of 'Rus Hydro' OJSC doesn't say anything about the limitations of the water outlets. In parallel with the limitations of water use, the company has loan obligations in the amount of US $ 50 million towards European Development Bank and Asian Development Bank. That is, the attractiveness of Sevan-Hrazdan hydrocomplex can be risen only due to the increase in electricity production.

It is not accidental that the order of additional water intake from Lake Sevan basin didn't meet the opposition of the governmental bodies receiving the support of the government and then most MPs of the National Assembly in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2017. Only in 2017 RA Nature Protection Ministry represented by ex-Minister Artsvik Minasyan (ARF party) opposed to the additional water outlets from Lake Sevan, but facing the drastic opposition of ex-PM Karen Karapetyan, he didn't continue his complaint. On 23 August 2018, the government again reached a decision on additional water outlets from Lake Sevan in the amount of 40 million cum, despite the fact that the lake has a negative balance in 2018, which contradicts RA Law on Lake Sevan and can lead to disastrous phenomena in the lake: the lake has started blooming in disastrous scales.

Next energetic interests, which destroy Sevan ecosystem, are SHPPs. SHPPs constructed on the rivers flowing to Lake Sevan are operated violating RA Law on Lake Sevan and other environmental laws, such as laws on specifically protected areas of nature, flora and fauna, the EU convention on landscape preservation, the UN convention on biodiversity etc.

'Dzoragyugh 1' and 'Dzoragyugh 3' SHPP Cascade

"Dzoragyugh 3" and "Dzoragyugh 1" SHPPs are of cascade type, which is operated by 'Sector Quant' LLC on the tributary of the Dzoragyugh River in Lake Sevan drainage basin. The cascade carried out mixed water intake - a part of water is taken from the springs of the river, the other part is taken from the irrigation system of the same system. Such an activity contradicts RA governmental resolution № 64 on 20 January 2005 on the preservation of ecosystem sanitary, flow formation, underground water preservation. The environmental flow is not adhered to.

"Daranak" SHPP

"Daranak" SHPP is constructed on the Masrik Tributary to the Daranak River, which flows into Lake Sevan. The SHPP construction has been funded by KfW Bank. "Daranak" SHPP is disturbed the natural water regime of the river and endangers the specific biodiversity of the river.

“Vardenik” SHPP

“Vardenik” SHPP is constructed in Lake Sevan basin, on the Vardenis River, which flows into Lake Sevan. The water intake section of “Vardenik” SHPP is an enormous structure, which shadows the natural beauty of the landscape with its sizes and appearance. Around 2.7 m height, 58.8 m length and the smooth surface of the fish passway can serve as a changed habitat for the fish and can have different consequences up to a change in the behaviour.

“Martuni” SHPP

“Martuni” SHPP is constructed in Lake Sevan basin, on the Martuni River, which flows into Lake Sevan. Martuni Community Municipality and residents are against the SHPP. As they claim, small animals and fish appear in its turbines and they are deprived of their natural wealth, while they resided in this area for that wealth.

“Argitchi” SHPP

“Argitchi” SHPP is constructed in Lake Sevan basin, on the Argitchi River, which flows into Lake Sevan with the funding of German KfW bank. The SHPP has been permitted to use the environmental flow of the Argitchi River. The construction and the further operation of “Argitchi” SHPP have caused the complaints of Verin Getashen community residents. For already several years the residents have been fighting for their rights to property, which, according to the residents, have been violated as a result of the agreement the company reached with their community municipality.

The experts mentioned that if the SHPPs constructed in the rivers in Lake Sevan basin can't ensure the reproductivity of the fish world and the statutory environmental flow, they must be dismantled. Nevertheless, the matter of dismantling hasn't been posed in front of the government and competent governmental bodies.

Who are the owners of SHPPs in Sevan?

According to information agencies, 'Hydrocorporation' company is the company having managed the design and construction of 'Argitchi', 'Areni', 'Yeghegnadzor' and 'Yeghegnadzor 1' SHPPs. The owner of “Martuni” SHPP is “MKSHGEnergiya” company owned by the family of Vayots Dzor Regional Archbishop Mkrtchyan, which also operated other SHPP in the Yeghegis River basin, such as “Yeghegis”, “Sunrise” and “Hermon”. The owner of “Vardenik” SHPP is MP Hakob Hakobyan.

Lake Sevan should also receive water through Arpa-Sevan tunnel, which could have compensated the water intakes for irrigation purposes. The tunnel should supply water to Lake Sevan through Kechout reservoir from the Arpa and Yeghegis river tributaries in the amount of 250 million cum water annually. It's interesting that as soon as water is directed to Lake Sevan, SHPPs owners express their concerns and pose demands so as the river water is attainable for them as well. The director of “Arpa-Sevan” OJSC, which manages Arpa-Sevan tunnel, is Paruyr Hakobyan, the son of MP Hakob Hakobyan. During SHPP monitoring, EcoLur recorded that the water of Arpa-Sevan tunnel flows into the Yeghegis River where a cascade of SHPPs is operated. The Hakobyans family also owns “Yeghegis 1” SHPP constructed on the Yeghegis River.

Photo from web site



16:38 August 28, 2018


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