The Armenian government approved today an additional release of water from Lake Sevan for irrigation purposes. Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources Minister Artur Grigoryan said instead of the previously planned 170 million cubic meters this year 210 million cubic meters will be pumped out from the lake.
He said the proceeds, which the International Energy Corporation is expected to receive from generation of electricity by a cascade of hydropower plants built on Hrazdan River from additional release of water will be spent on a set of measures designed to reduce the releases of water from Sevan in the future and increase the productivity of water purifying stations.
The government also decided to send a relevant bill to parliament for consideration at an extraordinary session to be convened on August 28.
The government says the added water release will also allow for an additional 38 million kilowatts of electricity at hydro plants along the Sevan-Hrazdan cascade and that the profits will be invested in a number of priority projects.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, at a government cabinet meeting today, said he had been opposed to drawing more water from Sevan but that his advisers told him it was a necessity.
According to official data, some 267 million cubic meters of water were released from Lake Sevan for irrigation purposes in 2017, by 99.622 million cubic meters more than in 2016 and down from the planned 270 million cubic meters.
Lake Sevan is the largest body of water in Armenia and the Caucasus region and is one of the largest freshwater alpine lakes in Eurasia. It is situated in Gegharkunik province at an altitude of 1,900 m above sea level. The lake is fed by 28 rivers and streams. Only 10% of the incoming water is drained by the Hrazdan River, while the remaining 90% evaporates. By 2030, the lake level is to be raised to 1903.5 m above sea level.
Finally, with this repetitive drawing, what will be the future of the strategic stock of fresh water for Armenia and the whole Caucasus region?
Time to find many solutions for the refill instead of the release!