ArmInfo. The chairman of the State Committee of Water Resources of Armenia does not rule out that in the course of 2018 there will be a need for additional water releases from Lake Sevan. "At the present time, it is impossible to talk about what volumes are involved. However, if the weather conditions are poor, the additional water intake from Lake Sevan will be an unavoidable measure," Arsen Harutyunyan said at a meeting with journalists on February 6, answering the question of ArmInfo.
According to Harutyunyan, in 2016, compared to 2015, the water level in Lake Sevan rose by 27 cm, thus keeping the trend of recent years. The exception was the year 2014, when the water level fell by 2-3 cm and then 2017 - with a decrease of 3-4 cm. This situation was caused by dry weather and as a result of an additional water supply from the lake. Over the past 15 years, the government has resorted to this measure due to irrigation problems several times.
This winter, was unusually stingy for precipitation. As a result, the year became unfavorable in terms of accumulation of water reserves in reservoirs. To date, about 25% of the required norm has been accumulated, instead of the envisaged 30%. However, risks are already visible, because as of today even in comparison with 2016, also unfavorable in terms of sediment, in the reservoirs of Armenia the accumulated water volume is 75 million cubic meters less. Only in the Akhuryan reservoir is not enough 56 million cubic meters of water.
The State Committee, according to the head of the department, is positive, as the Armenian weather forecasters promised that the second half of February and March will be rich in precipitation, which will mitigate the situation. Nevertheless, short-term precipitation, as Harutyunyan admitted, can only moisten the soil. The level of snow cover in the highlands is also insufficient.
However, according to him, his department does not sit idly by. Measures have been taken to restore 14 deep wells in the Armavir region and 23 more wells will be drilled. Negotiations are also being conducted with Russian companies to import mobile pumping stations. "In any case, we will use the right for water intake from Lake Sevan at a rate of at least 170 million cubic meters," concluded Arsen Harutyunyan.
On July 17, 2017, the National Assembly of Armenia approved amendments to the program "On restoration, conservation, reproduction and use of the Lake Sevan ecosystem", according to which in 2017 volumes of water releases from Lake Sevan from 170 million cubic meters were increased up to 270 million cubic meters. The reason for the increase in releases was the fact that the fullness of the Aparan and Azat reservoirs was 17 million cubic meters less than in the previous one, and the Hrazdan River is less than 40 million cubic meters full. In addition, the Akhuryanskoye reservoir was filled with 105 million cubic meters less. Despite the fact that the Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia opposed the proposal to increase the water intake from Sevan, and independent experts unanimously reiterated that the decrease in the water level in Sevan will lead to irreversible consequences in connection with the intensification of the bogging process, the bill was adopted, that, like expected, reflected at the level of Lake Sevan.