Մատչելիության հղումներ

Armenian Parliament Approves Additional Drainage From Lake Sevan


A view of Lake Sevan in Armenia

Citing the need to mitigate consequences of a continuing drought in Armenia, lawmakers have approved a government-drafted bill to allow additional drainage from Lake Sevan for irrigation purposes.

The parliament voted 65 to 18 to approve the measure in the first and second readings during an emergency session on Tuesday.

The opposition voted against the bill, insisting that authorities have other options to help farmers irrigate their land plots without an additional use of water from the key lake whose proper level has been a priority for successive Armenian governments.

Armenia’s law on Lake Sevan allowed the government to use no more than 170 million cubic meters of the lake’s water annually for irrigation and power generation purposes.

The approved changes now allow the authorities to use an additional 75 million cubic meters of water from Armenia’s largest body of fresh water.

The government says it will help cater for the needs of the rural economy that has been hit by water shortages due to a low level of precipitation this summer.

Farmers in several rural communities have staged protests in recent weeks complaining about water shortages. They said they were losing their crops and opportunities to repay business loans.

Member of the opposition Hayastan faction Artsvik Minasian, who served as Armenia’s environment minister in 2016-2018, warned about the negative consequences of the decision from the environmental point of view.

“Our faction will vote against this decision, but our vote is not against our agriculture, but against the government[’s mishandling of the sphere],” he said during the debate in parliament.

XS
SM
MD
LG