“Vardenik” SHPP: Monitoring Results (Photos)

“Vardenik” SHPP: Monitoring Results (Photos)


In the framework of the project entitled “Support to SHPP-relating Reforms Through the Dialogue of Public and RA Nature Protection Ministry for Sustainable Use of River Ecosystems” the expert group visited “Vardenik” SHPP. “Vardenik” SHPP is located in Gegharkounik Region, in the administrative area of Vardenik community. The SHPP is constructed in Lake Sevan basin, on the Vardenis River, which flows into Lake Sevan (length – 28 km). It’s operated by “Jrasahq” LLC.

As a result of the monitoring, the expert group found out:

  • The SHPP has been operating since 2013.
  • According to the project, the static pressure of the SHPP is 169 m, according to the certificate issued by the Public Services Regulatory Committee on 1 October 2015, the estimated pressure of the SHPP is 153.32 m, while the project says it's 141.32 m. According to PSRC certificate, the estimated yield used by the SHPP is 4.8 m3/s, while the project says it's 5690 kW. According to the PSRC certificate and project, the projected capacity – 6170 kW. According to the PSRC, as of October 2015 the factual useful delivery of the electricity is 12.373 million kWh, while as of 1 January 2015 it was 16.71 million kWh. The estimated production of the SHPP is 14.80 million kWh according to the project, duration of license - 08.05.2013- 08.05.2028, water usage permit 14.02.2013-14.02.2016.
  • The water usage permit doesn’t say the coordinates of water intake and discharge of the SHPP.
  • The water intake section of “Vardenik” SHPP is an enormous structure, which shadows the natural beauty of the landscape with its sizes and appearance. The technical solutions of the structures in the water intake section don't comply with the project solutions.
  • The length of the dam is 18 meters, its height is 1.5 meters. According to the project, the length of the concrete dam is 15 meters, its height is 3 meters.
  • The project planned to have a fish passway in the form of a canal with pebbled bottom. In fact, the fish passway is a concrete structure consisting of 12 individual compartments, the right and left sides of which have chess-like holes for the movement of the fish. The compartments are divided with one-meter-long partitions. 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. According to SHPP employee, the change of the project was condition with the requirements of KfW Bank.
  • There are 6 garbage-collecting cage nets of 2.2 m long, and the distance between its bars is 3 cm. Such distance between the bars can’t be an obstacle for the small fish 10-12 cm long to appear in the pressure pipeline.
  • You can meet the following fish species in the upper reach of the Vardenis River, where the SHPP head section is constructed: the brown trout, the Gegharkouni (these fish species are red-listed in Armenia), Sevan trout (red-listed). The Sevan khramulya may also flow up here (red-listed). The presence of the rainbow trout is not excluded, which is grown up in the ponds next to this river.
  • The SHPP pipeline is made of steel, its length complies with the project data. According to the project, the length of the pipeline is 3840 m, its diameter is 1200*2 mm.
  • Percentage correlation of aggregate length of the SHPP derivation pipeline (3840 meters) with the length of Vardenis River (28 km) makes up 13.35 %.
  • According to the water usage permit, “Vardenik” SHPP can take water in all months, annually 150.390 cum ensuring 0.18 cum/s environmental flow in the river. The environmental flow is set 0.045 cum, according to the project.
  • According to “Computation Center” CJSC data, in 2014 “Vardenik” SHPP operated for 12 months in 2014 and produced 12372616 kW electricity.
  • A turbine of Austrian 'Wasser kraft' production and two aggregates equipped with a generator of Czech production (each has 3 MW capacity) are installed in the SHPP building, which have high technical efficiency and entire automated management system. At the moment of observation only one aggregate was operating with 400 l/s water amount and ensured 576 kW projected capacity.
  • The transformer substation is fenced, the installed two transformers are not equipped with oil-collecting system.
  • There is no water-meter sealed by a relevant environmental body in the water intake.
  • The station area is improved and greened.
  • The requirements posed to the preservation and use of fertile soil, there are no landslide signs, reclaiming has been carried out.
  • The discharge of household wastewater is carried out through a water-proof well.
  • In 2015 the SHPP was imposed an administrative fine of 150,000 AMD.
  • The SHPP is close to “Sevan” National Park, a specially protected area of nature.


At the moment of observation there was 100 l/s water flowing in the Vardenis River and it was obvious that this amount couldn't be sufficient for the preservation of the natural state of ecosystem and biodiversity.

In the process of the preservation and reproduction of the fish fauna in Lake Sevan all the SHPP structures and the amount of the environmental flow in the river shall not hinder the natural movement of the fish in any way. The environmental flow of 1.0 m3/s set in the water usage permit is strictly adhered to. If these conditions are unable to be met, all these structures and other SHPPs constructed on the rivers in Lake Sevan basin shall be dismantled. The water usage permit sets an environmental flow of 0.18 m3/s. In this case, the SHPP can operate not more than 4 months per year, and only in case of water sufficiency higher then average. The maximum estimated yield used by the SHPP, 4.8 m3/s, if added to the environmental flow of 0.18 m3/s set in the water usage permit shows that the SHPP can operate only one month (June) with full capacity.

The dam of the water intake is constructed with project deviation with two parallel and unreasonable deep cesspools. According to SHPP representative, the project developer used the magnitude of flow for 1954 as initial data for the fish passway. Though a rational solution has been found, anyway it has been constructed with project deviations. This SHPP has all the signs available in other SHPPs: no measurement of environmental flow in the water intake section, as well as volume of water inflow, and the hydrological data serving as basis to determine its magnitude are not reliable.


  • To ensure automatic management of environmental flow in the head section, installation of water-measuring devices and online control.
  • To review hydroeconomic estimates to increase the environmental flow.
  • To equip the transformers with oil-collecting system.
  • To install a fish-protecting net.
  • To cover the bottom of the fish passway with river pebbles.

The material was  developed in the frames of “Supporting reforms in the sector of small hydro power plants through enabling a dialogue between civil society  and the Ministry  of Nature Protection for sustainable use of river ecosystems” supported by UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme".

16:09 April 04, 2016


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