YEREVAN, March 18. / ARKA /. A prominent Armenian hydrologist has endorsed today a government decision to increase release of water from Lake Sevan for irrigation purposes.
Speaking at the presentation of final findings of a USAID-supported assessment study of groundwater resources of the Ararat Valley and recommendations to stakeholders, Yuri Javadyan, head of Hayjrnakhagits (Armenian water projects) institute, said the increased release will lead to more efficient use of water resources in the future.
On January 30 the Armenian government approved an increase in the release of irrigation water from the lake from the current 170 million to 240 million cubic meters per year until 2019. The parliament will hold hearings on this issue on March 19.
Javadian explained that the increased water release will be used to irrigate some 8,100 hectares of land in 30 rural communities in the Ararat Valley which had illegal fish farms because the groundwater level in that area has dropped 3-15 meters in recent years, significantly worsening the situation with irrigation.
"To resolve this problem, we proposed to increase water releases from Lake Sevan by 70 million cubic meters in the next five years. During this period, fish farms will shift to semi-closed water recycling system that will reduce the amount of water they consume up to 33 times ," he said.
USAID Mission Director to Armenia, Karen Hilliard, who presented the findings of the study, said as a solution USAID proposes two directions - legislative reform and introduction of modern technologies to save water.
Many Armenian environmentalists protest against increased releases of water from Lake Sevan arguing g it could cause significant damage to the ecosystem of the lake. -0-