The water reservoir is jointly managed by Armenia and Turkey on equal terms
Photos from Andranik Ohanjanyan’s Facebook page
A sharp drop in the water levels at the Akhuryan water reservoir on the Armenian-Turkish border has led to a mass die-off of the fish population.
According to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia, the lack of water also led to a drop in oxygen levels, and therefore, the remaining fish in the reservoir swim to the water’s surface.
The agencies in charge haven’t named the causes of the mass die-off of the fish population yet. The Ministry of Nature Protection has just reported as follows: ‘Since the reservoir is located on the border, work is underway to obtain permission from the border services in order to take a water sample and find out whether the fish die-off was caused by a drop in water levels or some other reasons.
As Sona Martirosyan, a spokesperson for the State Committee of Water System told the Armenpress news agency, “Given that the water reservoir has been designed only for the accumulation of irrigation water, fish farming at the reservoir is not regulated by the legislation.
“Fish farming at the Akhuryan water reservoir is an arbitrary action and the State Committee of Water Systems has never issued permission or consent thereto. Consequently, the agency is in no way responsible for the protection of fish… Moreover, the agency isn’t authorized to issue such permissions without the Turkish side’s consent.”
The Akhuryan water reservoir is located on the Armenian-Turkish border. It extends along the border for about 20km. The capacity of the water reservoir is 525 million cub.m. Turkey and the Soviet Union agreed on the construction of the water reservoir back in the 1990s. The agreement was formalized by the joint Soviet-Turkish committee on 25 April, 1963. The water reservoir has been operating since 1982. Under the agreement, it shall be used jointly by the parties on equal terms (50/50).
Silva Adamyan, an environmentalist, noted that this situation was the result of negligence on the part of the responsible services and the environmental organizations. “People report the problem, but the responsible agencies don’t provide any information on the causes of the mass die-offs of the fish population and the drop in water levels. It clearly points to the fact that the resources aren’t managed properly. I don’t know what Mr. Premier thinks about it,” she said.
According to the press service of the State Committee of Water Systems, water from the reservoir is used for the irrigation of about 30 000 ha. of land in the Armavir and Shirak Provinces. On 2 September, the Armenian side stopped water usage from the Akhuryan water reservoir. As a result, the water levels in the reservoir slightly increased on 3 September.
“Meanwhile, the Turkish side has been using water throughout this period at the rate of 10 cub.m./sec.,” said Sona Martirosyan, a spokesperson for the State Committee of Water Systems.