Open Letter of "SOS Sevan" Initiative to Prime Minister RA

Open Letter of

Dear RA Prime Minister and Cabinet members,

“SOS Sevan” Initiative is proposing the Armenian Government to take measures to save Lake Sevan. The members of this initiative are scientists, public figures, active citizens of Gegharkounik Region, representatives of Diaspora, who have collected facts, the findings of scientific research, examinations, and analysis of the monitoring data received by independent experts. Summarizing all this, the initiative is applying to the Armenian Government so as it bears responsibility for the rescue of Lake Sevan with all its members. Each year the Armenian Government adopts a draft resolution “On Approving Annual and Complex Programs for Recovery, Conservation, Reproduction and Use of Lake Sevan Ecosystem”, which is later adopted by the National Assembly, Nevertheless, having a look at the current state of Lake Sevan, we can say that the requirements of the law are performed incompletely. Currently it is the Ministry of Environment which bears responsibility, which, in its turn, sees other governmental bodies as bearers of responsibility such as RA Health Ministry, Environmental and Mining Inspection etc. Taking into consideration that the problems of Lake Sevan are numerous and require professional and political solutions it becomes clear that one or several governmental bodies can find solutions only to partial problems not envisaging the entire volume and not having relevant leverages to implement these solutions.

RA Ministry of Environment has focused on the following problems:

  • Inflow of wastewater from dozens of residential areas into the lake from the adjacent areas,
  • Inflow of wastewater from entertainment and service objects into the lake from the adjacent areas,
  • Agriculture and cattle breeding
  • Inflow of phosphorus and nitrogen into the lake due to cage net fish breeding
  • Inflow of organic substances into the lake from flooded and littoral forest layers
  • High temperature and climate changes
  • Lack of precipitation
  • Intensiveness of winds which caused twice as much vaporization as the monthly average is in April.

For the purpose of solving these problems, the Ministry is proposing relevant actions.

Noting the importance of solving these problems, SOS Sevan initiative is highlighting the problem requiring prioritized solution – increase in the level of Lake Sevan. The solution to this problem requires applying numerous leverages. The following important consequences hinder the increase:

  1. There are 4729 recorded buildings located below the mark of 1905 meters around Lake Sevan, which will be flooded in case the level of Lake Sevan is increased.
  2. The roads of state significance, wire-transmission lines etc can also be flooded. So far the government hasn’t tabled any action plan of the relocation of infrastructures.
  3. Business interests of Sevan-Hrazdan hydrocascade at the expense of the intake from lake Sevan.
  4. Extremely insufficient state of the irrigation system in Sevan-Hrazdan aqueduct and in Ararat Valley. Overexploitation of the water resources of Ararat artesian basin, which has led to the additional water intake from Lake Sevan.
  5. Non-operation of Vorotan-Arpa tunnel, the lack of water flowing into Lake Sevan through Arpa-Sevan tunnel.

It is necessary:

  • To have complex assessment of hazards threatening Lake Sevan,
  •  To increase the level of Lake Sevan water for the formation of the protective layer of hypolimnion,
  • To rapidly prepare the shores of Lake Sevan for the increase in Lake Sevan level,
  • To review the mark of the increase in Lake Sevan level setting a higher mark rather than 1903.5 meters re-estimating the water balance of Lake Sevan,
  • To ensure public online control over the water intake from Lake Sevan.

Unless the problem with the increase in the water level receives its proper solution taking into consideration all the aforementioned circumstances, all the remaining, probably urgent measures have an interim nature.

The next main problem is the quality of Lake Sevan water: the data of “Center for Environmental Monitoring and Information” SCNO are not sufficient to give assessments to the water quality and to find solutions in terms of certain solutions or technologies.

It is necessary:

  • To find out who, how and where from solutes Lake Sevan to develop a procedure of Lake Sevan cleaning measures,
  • To apply new technologies in Lake Sevan to clean the lake, and for this purpose it is necessary to develop new rules and standards, for the toxic microcystine produced by the blue-green algae.

The financial source of the measures for the rescue of Lake Sevan shall be the funds generated from the sale of the electricity produced due to the extra water intakes from Lake Sevan carried out in 2017 and 2018.

Mr. Prime Minister we are applying to you so that you announce live a flash mob aimed at cleaning the littoral areas in Lake Sevan and the rivers flowing into the lake, cleaning the lake itself with the participation of the government and other governmental bodies and to assign the organization of the flashmob to RA Ministry of Environment publicising the outcomes of the flash mob.

“SOS Sevan” Initiative

“EcoLur” Informational NGO, Inga Zarafyan, Victoria Burnazyan, Roza Julhakyan, Kristina Ter-Matevosyan

“Association for Sustainable Human Development” NGO, Karine Danielyan

Public Environmental Alliance, Silva Adamyan

“Khazer” Ecological and Cultural NGO, Amalya Hambardzumyan, Aram Gabrielyan, Marzpetuni Qamalyan

“Green Armenia” NGO, Hayk Grigoryan, Tehmine Yenoqyan

“ICOMOS/Armenia” NGO, Gagik Sukhudyan

“Blejan” NGO, Liana Asoyan

“Martuni Women’s Community Council” NGO, Anahit Gevorgyan

“Territorial Development and Studies Center” NGO, Satik Badeyan

“Forests of Armenia” NGO, Nazeli Vardanyan

Head of Hydroecology at Institute of Hydroecology and Ichthyology of NAS RA, Associate Professor at Faculty of Biology, YSU Chair of Ecology and Nature Protection, Lusine Hambaryan

Energy Expert Edward Arzumanyan

“Reforms in Professional Education” NGO, Samvel Pipoyan

Expert of “Caucasus Regional Environmental Center” Dshkhuhi Sahakyan            

“Urban” Sustainable Development Foundation, Hayastan Stepanyan

“Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment’ NGO, Yelena Manvelyan, Qnarik Grigoryan

“Dalma-Sona” Foundation, Ruzanna Ghazaryan

“Biosophia” NGO, Gevorg Petrosyan

“Union of Public Defenders”, Aram Grigoryan   

Tatiana Danielyan

Sirine Kosyan

Sigran Sekoyan, Expert in Energy

Lilit Hovhannisyan, “Union for Preservation of Biodiversity and Landscapes” NGO

“Global Water Cooperation” NGO, Liana Margaryan

Armenian Environmental Front, Levon Galstyan

09:52 July 13, 2019


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