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Freshwater

© WWF Armenia, Davit Ayvazyan

Water is the most precious resource on our planet and its preservation is vital for the mankind, and for the plant and animal kingdom․

FRESH WATER RESOURCES AND WETLAND AREAS

Deficit of fresh water is a global problem. Main sources of fresh water are rivers, lakes and swamps. About one third of fresh water resources are centralized in Southern America; one forth is found in Asia. The share available to Former Soviet Union countries is slightly more, corresponding to 20%. It is 2% only that is centralized in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Global population grows day to day, so demand for water increases concurrently. For instance, population of Europe is 20% of the global number, but its share of water resources is as small as 7%.

Not only natural factors, but also human activity, have been contributing to the deficit of fresh water, reducing water resources and deteriorating their quality in the meantime. As a rule, rate of contamination of the environment is comparable to that of the water resources. Environmental problems are inter-related; hence, the availability of water is a factor that is directly related to the existence of many fauna species.

© WWF Armenia, Davit Ayvazyan

WHAT IS THE SITUATION WE HAVE IN ARMENIA?

Armenia covers a small area of just 29,743 km2, but has a big resource of fresh water. In 2018, surface flow waters corresponded to more than a half of the total water reserve. With this generous gift of nature, year after year we have been wasting considerable quanities of water as a result of poor conservation and careless use of this valuable resource.

With the current rate of water consumption, water resources of Armenia have been sufficient  and meeting the domestic needs. We must comment that more than 80% of the consumed water is used for irrigation and it is 5-6% only that is used for drinking and household purposes.  

According to some expert estimates, water resources of Armenia will be reduced by 20-25% by the year of 2050 as a consequnece of climate chages and decreased precipitation.

As concerns the direct impact of climate factor, by today, experts have already recorded an increase of temperature by more than 1 degree, which has had inevitable effects for surface waters. Climate changes have made river basins low-water and even caused drying of some tributaries.

The pattern observed in over-moist areas (wetlands) is different. Environmental calculations have demonstrated that wetlands in our country take up just 10% of the area. As to swamps, they are few and cover not more than about 0,.4% of these areas. Drying of swamps is also largely determined by the human factor.

© WWF Armenia, Davit Ayvazyan

Lake Sevan - the largest resource of fresh water for Armenia

Sevan is the only lake in the Republic of Armenia that can be related to the category of big lakes and represents one of world’s large high-mountain fresh-water lakes. It is the world’s second highest-elevation lake with fresh water, rated next to Lake Titicaca in South America. The water table has an area of 1260 km2 and this parameter ranks Sevan as the largest lake in the South Caucasus that is located at the elevation of about 1900 meters above sea level.

The sapphire blue Sevan is not just a water resource. It is noted for its unique ecosystem; however, lately, water level fluctuations that were most frequent in the recent years, have led to disruption of the ecosystem. This has been added with inflow of toxic chemicals and organic matters into the lake, having negative impacts on its rich biodiversity.

After Lake Sevan, volumes of water at Lake Arpi make it the second largest water basin in Armenia, located in the area of the consolidated community of Arpi in Shirak Marz. Lake Arpi represents a man-made water reservoir. Its dam was built in 1951, and before that Arpi was a small lake 1.6 meters deep, with the water volume of 5 million cubic meters. Waters of the small Yeghnajour River and mountain brooks are discharged into Lake Arpi. The Akhourian River originates from this water reservoir.

Meanwhile, waters of Lake Sevan, as well as the natural resources of its basin, are among the cornerstones of the country’s economy. The lake has strategic importance for Armenia and for the region. It resolves our main social-economic problem, and, at the same time, represents the largest resource of fresh water for the entire region.