On October 24, the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia adopted the bill in the first reading - to ban the water intake of more than 170 million cubic meters in case of a negative balance of Lake Sevan. On October 23, during the debate of the bill in the National Assembly, dissenting opinions were presented. The author of the bill, Chairman of RA NA Standing Committee on Territorial Administration, Local Self-Governance, Agriculture and Environment Varazdat Karapetyan said that the above 170 million cubic meters should be an upper bound and Lake Sevan should not be considered as a water reservoir only. “A proposal from the Government should not be presented to the National Assembly on taking extra water, especially if we have a negative balance in comparison with last year.
Our approach is that Sevan is a comprehensive ecological system with animals, plants, coastal areas, as well as settlements and people living around the lake.
We should remember that the water intake from Sevan is 50-60 million cubic meters. I think 170 million cubic meters of water intake or its potential should be limited, whether or not the year is favorable for independent agriculture.
I am sure that if the deep pumping stations are used efficiently, this will lead to additional electricity costs, but we cannot combine the current state of Sevan and any electricity costs for irrigation water. That expense is recoverable, and now there are processes in Sevan that may cause irreparable losses for us,” Karapetyan said.
For his part, Vardan Melkonyan, Chairman of the Water Committee of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of Armenia, said: “At present, water intake is being implemented to complete the autumn wheat and irrigation phase. We have already taken about 2 million cubic meters of water. Most likely we will move about 1 million cubic meters and thereby try to finish this year's intake from Lake Sevan. If we did not take from Sevan, but supply it with electricity, it would have required 35 million drams to pump those 3 million cubic meters,” Melkonyan said.
Addressing the MPs, Karapetyan said that the issue is the
approach to Lake Sevan and that during the voting they will set the issue of approach and priority before the Government. “We can never put our costs and benefits side by side and talk about Sevan. On October 24, the bill was adopted in the first reading by 78 votes to 8 with 37 abstentions.
14:17 October 24, 2019