Monday, 18 August 2008

Lake Sevan: Armenian government gave in to oligarchs

There were times when Armenian environmentalists trying hard to find ways to increase shrinking water level of Lake Sevan. I remember even the slightest increase in the water level made into the headlines of the main news programme on Armenian TV. This was considered a sign that Armenian ecologists and other specialists along with the government were on the right path and doing whatever possible to reach the aim and preserve the lake which is among favourite holiday destinations in Armenia. There were times…

Now it’s all about business interests. Apparently, recent raise in the water level of Lake Sevan ‘threatens’ coastal buildings which belong to various Armenian oligarchs. Solution? Armenian government decided to increase water supply from Lake Sevan “for agricultural irrigation and other purposes”, an argument which is dismissed by environmental specialists.

"Despite the dry weather during the growing season, we get information about the extremely high yield" - says Karine Danielyan, well known environmentalist, representative of the National Committee of UNEP (the United Nations Environment Programme). "If water needed for irrigation, why it is needed more in August than during the harvest season? One of the answers to the question could be that raising the water level is not desirable for owners of coastal buildings and so-called recreation zones, number of which is constantly growing."

Tomorrow Armenian parliament intends to discuss and approve government’s decision. Environmentalists are calling for a protest demonstration in front of the parliament on 19 August, 11.30 - SOS Sevan!


Bruce Tasker said...

The call to reduce the level of Sevan water has nothing to do with the environment, but as usual so that Armenia's oligarchs can fill their pockets. The Hrazdan gas powered electricity generating station has been 'privatized' by the Russians, this time in the guise of HyRusGasArt, as was the Hrazdan - Sevan hydro-cascade in 2003. The price of gas has gone up, so rather than paying 10 or 12 cents per kilowatt for gas generated electricity, Armenia's oligarchs, who are deeply embedded with the Russian owners of most of Armenia's assets, will increase output from the hydro-cascade, which to date has operated only 2 or 3 hours each day, and which costs less than 2 cents per kilowatt to operate.

With the Sevan lake now being filled with water from the Vorotan river, through the recently completed tunnel, the Hrazdan - Sevan hydro-cascade can now operate for several hours each day without reducing the level of the Sevan lake. This was anticipated several years ago and paid for with public funds, again to fill the pockets of Kocharian and his cronies, in Russia and in Armenia.

This is covered on my 'Stealing Armenia – How he did it!' blog on khosq at

artmika said...

Specialist environmental Bnamard blog voiced its outrage by Armenian parliament approval of government's decision on Lake Sevan and posted the following "SOS Armenia" call by Sevan Defense Initiative:

On August 21, 2008 the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia adopted a decision to increase the volume of water release from Lake Sevan up to 360 mln. cubic meters (instead of 170 mln. cubic meters of previous years established by law).

According to the opinion of independent scientists duplication of the volume of released water from Lake Sevan is impermissible and dangerous for the lake. Climate conditions during 2008 have not been as unfavorable as to generate a need for a measure. While, the declared increase of demand for irrigation water is not justified adequately.

Once again the Armenian authorities prove their anti-national nature...
Once again the publicly-owned resources are sacrificed to satisfy the interests of a group of people...
Once again the coalition parties that pretend to serve national interests, particularly the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, have demonstrated unprincipled and self-seeking behavior.

Meanwhile, the real reasons for the increase of intake from Sevan are obvious – the authorities try to save from being sunk the illegal buildings of a group of oligarchs. As for how and by whom the additional volumes of released water are used - raises certain doubts.


Today Lake Sevan and Teghut forests are being destroyed,
Tomorrow the mines and biological resources will be exploited,
while the intended extraction of uranium will be devastating for the country.
The turn of the 20th century
was marked by the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
The 21st century has begun
with a 'white' massacre conducted by native authorities...


Crime is committed with our tacit agreement.
Silence implies agreement!

artmika said...

Revealed: "The Nature Minister’s Private House on the Shores of Sevan"