YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–At an environmental protection conference held last week–it was announced that $30 million is needed to restore the environmental balance of Lake Sevan–and $145 to construct a tunnel in Vorotan and a reservoir in Yeghvard. Since 1996–a $485,000 World Bank-sponsored program for the environmental rehabilitation of Lake Sevan has been in preparation by local and international environmental experts.
The conference addressed issues of funding for the program. World Bank representative Sari Soderstrom said that "the World Bank has a lot of money," however–since the matter concerns loans–it is up to the government of Armenia to decide which credit program to utilize. Soderstrom added that most environmental programs are usually sponsored by international donors or environmental funds.
Armenia’s Minister of Environmental Protection Sargis Shakhazizian reported that 1.2 billion drams had been allocated for the construction of a tunnel in Vorotan in 1998–and that a series of measures aimed at maintaining the environmental balance of Lake Sevan is currently underway.
Shakhazizian reported that the outflow of water from the lake has been minimized. Thus–150 million cubic meters of water have been used for agricultural needs this year. Even though 20.9 million cubic meters were used for energy needs last year–water will be used for such purposes only in case of emergency this year.
As a result of appropriate measures–the Minister reported that Lake Sevan has been maintained at the level of 1,887 meters since last August.