Vital Armenian Lake Continues to Shrink

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The level of Lake Sevan–Armenia’s largest water reservoir–has further decreased over the past few years–Minister of Environment Eduard Madatian said on Tuesday–blaming the alarming drop on the "inefficient use of water resources." Madatian told RFE/RL that the surface of the mountainous lake is now four centimeters lower than a year ago.

Situated about two kilometers above sea level–Sevan has a pivotal role in Armenia’s ecological system. Decades of Soviet mismanagement and experimen’s have resulted in an unprecedented shrinkage of the lake’s depth and area. Rescue programs implemented by successive Armenian governmen’s have had mixed results.

The authorities claim that the use of Sevan’s waters for irrigation purposes and energy generation has been cut drastically in the last several years. "We are doing our best to minimize the outflow of water from Sevan," Madatian said. He said this policy has already put him at loggerheads with the ministry of agriculture which seeks to alleviate effects of the continuing severe drought by boosting irrigation.

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