On April 29 the National Assembly passed in a first reading the draft law on Amending the RA Law on Approving the Annual and Comprehensive Events and Programs on Restoration, Maintenance and Utilization of the Sevan Lake Eco System, which proposes releasing an additional 70 million cubic meters of water from Sevan during a one year period.
Supporters of releasing additional water from Sevan claim that the 70 million cubic meters of water are required for the irrigation of Ararat Valley.
“There is a water shortage and the release of 70 million cubic meters of water is a standard requirement for Sevan,” said Alyosha Tarverdyan, member of the Committee on Sevan Lake Issues under the RA President at the discussion in the media center.
“The artesian water in Ararat Valley has been misused for years and currently there is need for water, so we go to the next source of water, i.e. Sevan,” this is what Erik Grigoryan (Head of the Youth Association of Environmental Lawyers and Economists NGO ).
“Ararat Valley needs water, but the issue here is the very poor management and releasing water from Sevan is not going to address it,” added Inga Zarafyan, head of the Ecolur informational NGO, who also noted that he does not trust the government and does not see a clear justification for releasing water. The environmentalist thinks that the owners of property on the lake shoreline will benefit if the level of Sevan does not rise.
Vahe Gulanyan, deputy director of Sevan National Park thought it ridiculous that the water is said to be released “for certain facilities”. According to Gulanyan the property owners were aware about the potential danger of the rising water level and regardless of the ownership of the shoreline area, water cannot be released because of such considerations. “If there is any negative impact on Sevan, it will be prevented by all means. No one can say whether the water level will rise or fall; this cannot be determined.”
Environmentalist Inga Zarafyan wondered why the Ministry of Nature Protection withhold the fact that in 2012 lake Sevan had a 2cm negative balance.
“Even when 300 million cubic meter of water was released there was no negative balance,”argued Vahe Gulanyan, deputy director of Sevan National Park. Tarverdyan, member of the Committee on Sevan Lake Issues also insisted that there would be no negative balance in Lake Sevan.
In 2008 և 2012, when it was decided to release additional water from Sevan because of the drought, there were discussions about building new reservoirs to store larger amounts of water and to prevent the release of extra water from Sevan. However, these reservoirs have not materialized to date.
“Construction of additional reservoirs has been delayed. Such projects were supported by the international organizations and currently there are financial issues in this regard,” explained Alyosha Tarverdyan, member of the Committee on Sevan Lake Issues under the RA President.
“Sevan should not be viewed as a reservoir, where water level can be increased or decreased. It is a unique eco system and any fluctuation of the water level affects it negatively,” said environmental expert Erik Grigoryan.
On May 7 the Media Center held a discussion on the Issue of Release of Additional Water from Lake Sevan and its Consequences. Speakers included: Alyosha Tarverdyan, member of the Committee on Sevan Lake Issues under the RA President, Inga Zarafyan, head of the Ecolur informational NGO, Erik Grigoryan, environmental expert, head of the Youth Association of Environmental Lawyers and Economists NGO, Vahe Gulanyan, deputy director of Sevan National Park SNCO.