Possible solutions

Water is the basis of life.

Saving freshwater has seemed to become a global challenge of the 21st century due to the lack of its resources on the Earth. The most essential requirement for economic growth and social development is to provide high quality water to people and to ensure the recovery of the hydroecosystem itself.

Due to irrational usage of water Lake Sevan faces serious challenges in full-fledged functioning of its ecosystems. The uniqueness of  Lake Sevan which is completely reflected  in the Law on Lake Sevan adopted by the National Parliament of Armenia in 2001:

“This Law establishes  the legal and economic basis of the state  policy on natural development, recovery, reproduction of natural resources (further – reproduction), to preserving and use of the Lake Sevan ecosystem as strategic purpose of the Republic of Armenia having nature protection, economic, social, scientific, historical and cultural, aesthetic, health, climatic, recreational and spiritual value. Lake Sevan is the strategic treasure of fresh water of the Republic of Armenia”

forced the Armenian Government to face the challenge of rescuing Lake Sevan.

The first steps toward raising the Lake Sevan water level started in 1962 with the construction of the Arpa-Sevan tunnel to bring waters from the Arpa River into the Lake Sevan basin. In 1981, when the tunnel began working, it became obvious there was a need of bringing some additional mass of water into the Lake. Based on calculations, the RA Government made a decision to build the second tunnel – Vorotan-Arpa, transferring the Arpa river water to Sevan.

Besides, to maintain the level of inflowing waters it was decided to reduce the amount of the water taken from the Lake catchment basin for irrigational purposes by using waters from the Ararat valley, to dramatically reduce the outflow with the Hrazdan River and to control water usage in nearby territories.

Strategy modeling

While developing scenarios of recovering water resources due to possible hydrological and ecological changes one has to take into consideration the interaction of the components requiring quantitative calculations and analysis.

The Lake Sevan problem is a complex of complicated problems, it needs a coordinated approach. To achieve better management of the Lake Sevan basin resources,  a thorough investigation of the functioning of ecosystems, accurate planning, sufficient financial investments, etc. are required.

The new governmental strategy for the Lake Sevan protection and recovery includes:

Control of the Lake Sevan catchment basin.

  • one of the bases of the new strategy should be preparation for the water level rise:
    • cleaning of shoreline,
    • removing of green zones, etc.;
  • to raise the Lake water level,
    • to limit further water usage for irrigational and hydropower purposes;
  • to control and reduce pollution of:
  • utility waste water;
    • agriculture and cattle-breeding;
    • industrial and mining waste.
  • to manage the waste:
    • to minimize negative impact of economical activities by improving industrial waste,
    • strict control of usage of Lake Sevan for recreational purposes;
  •  to organize special conservation of  biodiversity of the Lake Sevan basin with critical emphasis on endemic species and special focus on recovering fish stocks.

The new governmental strategy on water management that started in 2002 has already resulted in   the Lake water level increase by 2.5 m. The cleaning works at the Lake Sevan shoreline are in progress.  Accurately following the strategy that has been modelled on the basis of water resource management will contribute to the recovery of the Lake ecosystem balance.