Statement by Lake Sevan Expert Preservation Committee on Additional Water Intake from Lake Sevan

Statement by Lake Sevan Expert Preservation Committee on Additional Water Intake from Lake Sevan

On July 12 of this year, RA National Assembly adopted the draft law "On making amendments to the law "On approving the annual and comprehensive plans for restoration, conservation, reproduction and use of the Lake Sevan ecosystem", according to which up to 70 million m3 of water will be released from Lake Sevan, the total water intake will be up to 240 million m3.

The draft law was sent to the Committee for opinion after it was approved by the RA government, not before. On July 7, the Committee convened an extraordinary session to discuss the bill with the participation of the administration of Water Committee of RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure. The Committee noted that the data presented by the Water Committee need to be adjusted. The Water Committee calculated the annual water demand of 521 million m3, but the Committee calculated that the water demand is 390 million m3 and there is no need to draw additional water from Lake Sevan.

In addition, the Water Committee presented the areas subject to irrigation as 31.3 thousand ha in one case, and 30.4 thousand ha in the other. The difference is about 1000 ha. According to the calculations of the Water Committee, 16.6 cubic meters of water is used for each hectare, and a total of 16 million m3 of water is obtained. If the land area data is not accurate, 16 million m3 of additional water will be taken out of the lake in vain, which is unacceptable.

The Commission has sent a negative conclusion to the Water Committee regarding the additional water intake from Lake Sevan. The Commission proposes to exclude exceeding the amount of water intake of 170 million m3 set for 2023 by the law and the decision of the RA Government dated 11.05.2023 N704-A.

Despite the Committee’s negative conclusion, RA National Assembly adopted the bill on additional water intake from Lake Sevan without inviting the Committee Chair to the National Assembly, not listening to professional arguments, thus violating the procedure established by the Law on Lake Sevan. We are very concerned about this way of working.

It is necessary for the protection of the ecosystem of Lake Sevan:

· To exclude additional water intakes from Lake Sevan,

· In case of water shortage in the republic, water intake from Lake Sevan, including water output through the Hrazdan River, should be set at 90 million m3 so that the lake has a positive balance,

· To release water from Lake Sevan with a steady flow both during the night and during the day (including from the Aghbyurak reservoir), reducing water losses in the Sevan-Hrazdan hydrosystem,

· To assess water losses and take measures to exclude illegal water use and reduce water losses,

· To maintain the norms of water requirement of agricultural crops,

· To reduce excessive water losses, develop incentive mechanisms, water-saving technologies for farmers growing crops equivalent to the plot,

· To organize irrigation at night,

· To repair the reservoirs, clean the reservoirs from silt, water bodies, build new reservoirs to lighten the load of Lake Sevan,

· to introduce a water intake distribution accounting system,

· build biological treatment plants in the basin of Lake Sevan, which will solve the problem of sewage in coastal settlements,

· to establish a Sevan Lake problems management committee adjunct to the RA Prime Minister, which will deal with the solution of the Sevan Lake problems.

Lake Sevan Expert Preservation Committee

July 17, 2023 at 13:27