RA Nature Protection Ministry's good news on the positive balance of Lake Sevan, which was announced in the course of wide-scale discussions dedicated to Lake Sevan at RA National Assembly on 28 September, didn't last even one month. On 15 October, Lake Sevan already had a negative balance because of the additional water intake.
Under the data of RA MES, the last water outlets out of Lake Sevan was conducted on 24 October. The volume of water outlets has made up 200,623,000 m3. Thus the statutorily permissible volume of water outlets out of Lake Sevan, 170 million m3, has been exceeded by 30 million m3.
We are presenting the speeches of RA Nature Protection Minister Erik Grigoryan, Chair of Water Committee of RA Ministry for Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources Inessa Gabayan which were made in the course of the discussion on Lake Sevan issues organized by RA National Assembly Standing Committee on Territorial Administration, Local Governance, Agriculture and Environment.
RA Nature Protection Minister Erik Grigoryan said in his speech: 'I would like to share the good news with you at the beginning, as of today (28 September) the level of Lake Sevan is higher by 3 cm as compared with that of the last year, i.e. there is about 40 million cum more water that we had this day last year.
...RA Nature Protection Ministry has developed a project of US $50 million with the World Bank partners, in the frames of which significant funds are planned for the installation of cleaning stations.
...There is a reproduction program of the Sevan Khramulya, as the Khramulya is not only endemic fish species for Lake Sevan, but also the only fish species which eats organic substances and thus plays the role of an aide for the ecosystem of Lake Sevan. RA Nature Protection Ministry is planning to organize the artificial reproduction of the Sevan Khramulya.
...Another important issue was related to the demand for water, as you know the demand for an additional 40 million cum water was also due to the incomplete fullness of several reservoirs supplying water to Ararat Valley. We have carried out additional investigations and estimated the electricity produced by the HPPs operating with the water from the reservoirs with certain formulae and reached the conclusion that HPPS have carried out extra water intake in numerous places and not in the season when they were supposed to do it. All this information has been handed to RA Environmental and Mining Inspection Body to carry out additional inspections...
If last year the transparency of Lake Sevan was 14 meters, while that has been close to the best indicator that Sevan has had over the recent years, this year it decreased to 2-2.5 meters because of the increase in the algae, which is a very bad sign that we have problems relating the water quality in Lake Sevan.'
Chair of Water Committee of RA Ministry for Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources Inessa Gabayan's speech, 'What about Arpa-Sevan tunnel, we hope that after the rehabilitation we will be able to transfer 200 million cum water from Kechout reservoir to Lake Sevan. Vorotan cascade is the only cascade in Armenia, an energetic system, which covers the peak demand in the electricity. We don't have any other HPP. Our problem is that if we take water from Spandaryan reservoir, transfer it from Vorotan cascade to Kechout then to Sevan, then we have to buy electricity from our neighboring countries, Georgia.
What about the reasons for the additional water take out of Lake Sevan: this year it is not due to the lack of water to that extent, but we should take into consideration all those reductions in the water balance in the republic, which have taken place in the republic over the recent years. Turkey's policy has reduced all the water flows, we export more water for fish breeding, 800 million than we collect water in our reservoirs, around 700 million. As a result of fish breeding, the Sevjur river had dried up, which used to supply 90 million cum of irrigation water to the land areas in Armavir Region.
… We are losing 35 million cum water in Arpi Lake. This lake was historically a lake designed for irrigation: its useful volume is 105 million cum, while 5 million cum was the dead volume. Today we have increased this 5 million into 40 million because of all the problems we are all aware of. We have discussed with RA Nature Protection Ministry the issues of birds nesting, solutions may be found in order not to reduce the irrigation water by 35 million cum.
We all raise the problem of the Yeghegis River, the problem of the SHPPs constructed along the entire course of the river. If there is a reservoir constructed under the intersection of Arpa-Sevan tunnel and the Yeghegis River, on the Yeghegis River, it will be economically profitable, which will solve the problem of four water users. Besides the irrigation water, the water intake from Kechout reservoir has been carried out 3-5 times more, which means that the HPPs operate beyond the irrigation regime. I can't say whether it is 100% legal or not unless I have the water use permits. We have applied to RA Nature Protection Ministry requesting to provide us with these permits.'
16:39 October 30, 2018