At the session held on 23 August, the Armenian Government unanimously adopted the draft law on additional water intake in the amount of 40 million cum from Lake Sevan. Under this draft law, the water intake from Lake Sevan in 2018 will make up 210 million cum. In his speech, Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan said, “There is a real risk that we may create rather complex and deadlocked situation for agriculture, which is a double deadlock for the government, on the other hand. On the one hand, it is for agriculture; on the other hand, we have that civic and civil belief that Lake Sevan can’t be treated as a water container.”
Minister for Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources Arthur Grigoryan mentioned that the extra profit to be generated due to the additional water intake will be directed to the extra-budgetary account of the government for the further implementation of targeted investments.
Deputy PM Tigran Avinyan noted there is already 1.6 billion AMD on the extra-budgetary account, “These funds will be directed at the measures aimed to decrease water intake from Lake Sevan,” Tigran Avinyan said.
“If this additional water intake of 40 million cum is carried out, the generated additional funds must be spent to solve the environmental problems of Lake Sevan,” Energy Minister Arthur Grigoryan said.
Nature Protection Minister Erik Grigoryan said, “Annually around 7-8 billion cum of surface water forms in Armenia, but our demand is only 25% in the amount of 2 billion. Today’s situation is absurd, as we are discussing the additional water intake of 40 million cum water, as this matter is much wider. Water resources are poorly managed. We are one of those exclusive countries worldwide, which is self-sufficient in terms of water, as we have acute problems: our different water users have water-related problems. I think our strategy must be more systematic so as all water users in need of water have enough of water resources: we have examined the SHPP productivity operating below the reservoirs and can see that numerous SHPPs, which shouldn’t have produced that much electricity beyond the irrigation season, actually do. The reservoirs are regularly half-full. What about Arpa-Sevan: under the plan, it will start operating at full capacity from 1 April 2019, which will enable transferring around 250 million cum of water annually. Nevertheless, we also have to refer to Vorotan-Arpa tunned, which hasn’t operated even a day since its launch...”
“If irrigation water is not provided, its consequences can be disastrous for households and farms. Maybe it’s not such a desirable solution, but it’s a solution with no alternative,” Agriculture Minister Arthur Khachatryan said. “In order to safeguard the situation, we will make such a decision, but, on the other hand, we will establish an operative group, which, in case this law is adopted, will examine all the details, situation and will attempt to manage the problems in a way if there is any practical opportunity to close this season without using this additional 40 million, we will solve this problem in this way,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
None of the government members covered the risks threatening Lake Sevan, the state of Lake Sevan and none of them mentioned the current negative balance of Lake Sevan. As of August 23, the lake level is 1900.66 cm, which is lower by 2 cm as the level for the same day last year.
16:05 August 23, 2018