Tuesday, February 6 2018 17:15
Naira Badalian

If existing weather conditions continue, additional water intake from Lake Sevan will become an inevitable measurec

If existing weather conditions continue, additional water intake from  Lake Sevan will become an inevitable measurec

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.

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