YEREVAN, May 7. /ARKA/. The increased release of irrigation water from Sevan may drive the lake’s level seven or eight centimeters down, Alyosha Tarverdyan, a member of the president-affiliated commission set up for dealing with the lake-related problems, said Wednesday at a news conference.
On April 29, the National Assembly of Armenia passed amendments to the law on protection of ecosystem of Lake Sevan. The amendments imply a 40-percent (70 million cubic meters) increase of water release from the lake for irrigation this year.
Earlier, Vladimir Movsisyan, the chairman of the commission, said that the lake’s level is planned to be raised by six meters and that this will increase water in Sevan up to 42 billion cubic meters.
“If we do nothing to increase the amount of water going to the lake through Arpa-Sevan canal, water level in the lake will drop 7 to 8 centimeters,” Tarverdyan said.
Vahe Gulanyan, the deputy chairman of Sevan National Park governmental noncommercial organization, who spoke at the news conference as well, pointed out coastal forests as one of the factors hobbling the increase of the lake level.
“It is difficult to say who is to blame for this situation, but when the lake’s level goes up, forests remain under water,” he said. “Of course, it would be wrong not to release water at all, since the entire Hrazdan hydro system is already adjusted to the current regime. Besides, water release makes the lake cleaner.”
Environmentalist Inga Zarafyan, on her side, finds the decision to increase the release a senseless measure that is beneficial only to those who have business on the lakeside.
Lake Sevan is one of the largest highland lakes in Europe and Asia and the main source of drinking water in the region.
Sevan is situated in the central part of Armenia at the altitude of 1,914 m (6,200 ft) above sea level. It is fed by 28 rivers and streams. -0---