Open Letter of "S.O.S Sevan" Initiative Addressed to Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan

Open Letter of

"S.O.S Sevan" Initiative

To Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyn from
S.O.S Sevan Initiative

                                                           OPEN LETTER
Respectable Mr. Prime Minister,
S.O.S Sevan Initiative is announcing about the launch of 'S.O.S. Sevan' campaign starting from 1 August 2018 for the sake of saving Lake Sevan and against additional water outlets from Lake Sevan.
Water Committee of RA Ministry for Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources made a legislative initiative, which plans to carry out additional water outlet from Lake Sevan. At first, the draft on additional water outlet of 85 million cum besides 170 million cum statutory volume, was put into circulation, and then being issued the negative statements of RA Nature Protection Ministry and Lake Sevan Preservation Committee of NAS RA, the Water Committee reduced the volume of additional water outlet by half making it 40 million cum.

We, the members of S.O.S Sevan Initiative, are radically against any additional water intake from Lake Sevan for the following reasons:

1. The processing taking place currently in Lake Sevan witness that intensive waterlogging process has started in the lake: organic substances have accumulated in Lake Sevan, while the decrease in the lake level doesn't support the self-cleaning of Lake Sevan, while high temperature activates new, non-desirable biological processes, which have already resulted in lake blooming.

2. After the algal bloom in Sevan, the algae reside on the bottom of the lake causing oxygen deficit. It can have an extremely serious effect on the fish world of Lake Sevan.

3. The additional water outlet from Lake Sevan won't solve the irrigation problems in Ararat Valley, as the water loss in Sevan-Hrazdan aqueduct makes up 70-80% and the water doesn't reach the farmers.

4. Starting from the end of June 2018, the level of Lake Sevan has started decreasing and the further decrease will lead to the change in water quality. Under such conditions, we will have a wetland instead of freshwater in Lake Sevan, the water of which can't be used for irrigation at all.

5. Water Committee notes that the profit made from producing 38 million kwph electricity with the additional 40 million cum of water intake will be directed to implementing investments in the Republic of Armenia. It should be mentioned that it hasn't been presented to what investment projects 1 billion 650 million AMD received from the additional water intake of 100 million cum from Lake Sevan in 2017 was directed and who confirmed the process of implementing these investment projects.

6. RA Nature Protection Ministry issued a negative statement to the water intake of 40 million cum from Lake Sevan: '...Implementation of any action in regard to Lake Sevan should have been based on the preservation of three main principles laid down in the legislation, which are as follows:

1. Limited nature of the resource,
2. National safety and strategic significance,
3. Restoration and preservation of environmental balance.

...RA Nature Protection Ministry proposed to ensure the water requirements of Sevan-Hrazdan irrigation system not through additional water intake from Lake Sevan, but through the rational use of the water resources of Hrazdan river basin and the statutory water outlet of 170 million cum from Lake Sevan.

As a result of various man-made impacts, Lake Sevan ecosystem has found itself in a rather unstable situation where any new wrong step in the drainage basin of the lake can be disastrous for this natural object and the preservation of its resources. Armenia, as a country having adopted ecosystem approach, shall treat Lake Sevan as a natural ecosystem rather than a reservoir,' the statement of RA Nature Protection Ministry says, which, under the Armenian legislation, is authorized to issue statements on environmental impact assessment.

Based on the aforementioned, S.O.S Sevan initiative proposes:
• To reject the draft governmental resolution on ‘Approving RA Draft Law ‘On Approving Annual and Complex Programs for Recovery, Conservation, Reproduction and Use of Lake Sevan Ecosystem’’ developed by Water Committee,
• To assign Water Committee to find measures to reduce the volumes of water losses in Sevan-Hrazdan aqueduct.
• To direct the water illegally used in Sevan-Hrazdan aqueduct for the irrigation of Ararat Valley, to find additional water resources to complement the irrigation deficit and to present this scheme in a short period of time,
• To bring the fish farms operating in Ararat Valley into a legal field, which have illegally obtained water use permits for overexploitation of groundwater,
• To bring the volumes of water intake in Ararat Valley into legal frames to restore the balance of groundwater,
• To stop Qaghtsrashen gravity irrigation system project, as a result of which Azat reservoir can’t get full,
• To review the policy run by water using companies taking into consideration the interests of land users and the public opinion.

S.O.S Sevan Initiative
Inga Zarafyan – ‘EcoLur’ Informational NGO
Karine Danielyan – ‘Association for Sustainable Human Development’ NGO
Amalya Hambardzumyan – ‘Khazer’ Environmental and Cultural NGO
Hasmik Aslanyan – ‘Shogher’ NGO
Silva Adamyan – Public Environmental Alliance
Satik Badeyan – ‘Territorial Development and Research Center’ NGO
Yelena Manvelyan – ‘Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment’ NGO
Liana Asoyan- “Blejan” NGO
Anahit Gevorgyan – ‘Martuni Women’s Community Council’ NGO
Nazeli Vardanyan – ‘Forests of Armenia’ NGO
Edward Arzumanyan – an independent energetic expert
Roza Julhakyan – expert
Martin Badeyan- expert

August 02, 2018 at 16:58

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