Locals Getting Worried: Vorotan River Ecosystem Violated (Photos)

Locals Getting Worried: Vorotan River Ecosystem Violated (Photos)


The ecosystem of the Vorotan Rier has been violated: the locals are getting worried. 'The fish in the Vorotan River is getting eliminated, while the section of the river in Sisian is covered with moss. Now 1.5-2 cum water flows per second, but it used to be 15 cum in August,' Gevorg Asatryan, President of 'Sisian Bee Keepers' Union' NGO is beating an alarm signal to EcoLur. The deterioration of the river is conditioned with the problems of irrigation management and hydropower. The complex of hydropower stations constructed on the Vorotan River consists of the following HPPs: 'Spandaryan' HPP with a nominal capacity of 80 MW, 'Shamb' HPP with 170 mW capacity and 'Tatev' HPP with 152.7 mW capacity.
Spandaryan, Angeghakot, Tolors, Shamb and Tatev reservoirs are constructed for HPP operation, which collect the water of Vorotan River basin. Small hydropower is also developed on the Vorotan River. Currently, 29 HPPs have been constructed in the Vorotan river basin. The water of the Vorotan River is used for irrigation and other economic needs. The water of the Vorotan River is also used for mining: currently, different infrastructures are being constructed in the Vorotan river basin area, such as roads, industrial platforms etc.

Amulsar mine located at a distance of 2 km from Spandaryan reservoir in direct line and will have an immediate impact on this water object. Dastaker copper and molybdenum mine in the area of Vorotan river basin, which is currently not operated, but the tailing dump and the tails of Dastaker mine have already polluted Tolors reservoir. 'Years ago the water made the tailing dump decay, and now the tails have leaked into Tolors reservoir. Over the recent years we can see how the color of the reservoir water has been changing, while there is green residue on the bank after the decrease in water level,' Gevorg Asatryan said.
Vorotan river ecosystem can't stand such an overload: as the residents of local communities told EcoLur, numerous springs supplying water to the river have dried out.

In 2017 RA Nature Protection Ministry developed 'On Approving Environmental Impact Assessment Criteria of Small Hydropower Plant Construction and Operation' proposes to ban the construction of SHPPs given the impact on environment on the following rivers and tributaries: Gavaraget, Tsakqar, Litchq, Kartchaghbyur (Maqenis), Masrik, Vardenis, Argitchi, Martuni, Dzknaget, Hrazdan, Aghstev, Akhuryan, Vorotan, Arpa, Dzoraget, Yeghegis, Azat, Martz, Gosh, Meghriget rivers and Kaputjugh and Qajarants tributaries to the Voghji River. It's banned to extend water usage permit term of the SHPPs constructed on the aforementioned rivers.

Nevertheless, the draft resolution has been amended recently and the ban on constructing SHPPs on these rivers and issuing new water usage permit term of the SHPPs constructed on the aforementioned rivers has been eliminated.

Gevorg Asatryan

Vorotan River

Angeghakot waterdump

Shamb waterdump

Spandaryan waterdump

Tolors waterdump

The material was developed in the frames of “Supporting new reforms in SHPP sector through CSO-government dialogue” supported by UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme".

September 06, 2017 at 17:28