features. Lake Sevan is situated 60 km to the North-East from Yerevan,
in Gegharkounik District. Geographical co-ordinates of Lake Sevan are 40o08'-40o49'N/44o58'-45o42'E.
The lake is the greatest lake of Transcaucasus Region and one of the greatest
lakes of Eurasia. Lake Sevan consists of the deeper Minor Sevan and comparatively
shallower Major Sevan. In natural conditions Lake Sevan had been located
at the altitude of 1916.20 m a. s. l. with the surface 1416 km2, volume
58.5 km3 and maximum depth 99 m.
The landscape of the basin of the lake has a zonal character. The shoreline
consists of artificial forest belt with a mosaic of recreational buildings.
Above the shoreline are arable lands. High-mountain steppes, sub alpine
and alpine meadows are situated above the arable lands. In the 1930-1950ss
there was an economical program for reducing the level of the lake by 50
meters until Major Sevan would completely disappear (the program was directed
towards enlarging the land used for
at the expense of drying up Sevan). It would cause the area reduction to
239 km3 and would lower the evaporation rate up to 6 times. The natural
flow of Lake Sevan into Hrazdan river would increase and more water would
become available for generation of electricity and irrigation of Ararat
valley. In these conditions the lake would gain new water exchange balance
when annual outflow into Hrazdan river would become 550 mln. m3 annually.
Fortunately Armenian authorities recognized unpredictable consequences of
this plan. In the 1960s the new project was presented by which the level
of the lake would be preserved at 1897 m a. s. l. The primary components
of the project were the reduction of outflow into the Sevan-Hrazdan hydropower
cascade and addition of approximately 250 mln. m3 of water per
year from Arpa River through the tunnel Arpa-Sevan. The construction of
the tunnel was completed in 1981.
present the water-level is lower by 19.69 m (1 January 2000), the surface
and the volume are 1241 km2 and 33 km3, respectively.
The natural soil is mainly black earth (chernozem). In some parts
soils are sandy, clayey or peaty. Soil of the former bottom of the lake
is at the stage of forming. High-mountain location of the site causes influence
on the climate, which is cooler, compared to other areas of Armenia.
Mean temperatures range from -6oC in January to +16oC
in July with average annual temperature +5oC. There are roughly
240 days with mean daily temperature over zero. The quantity of sunny hours
per year varies from 2600 to 2800 depending on location, and it is comparable,
i. e., with Alexandria (Egypt). Annual precipitation ranges from 340 to
720 mm of which 17% falls in the winter, 37% the in spring, 26% in the summer
and 20% in the autumn. The weather is windy. Winds are stronger in the winter
(6 m sec-2) and lower in the spring and autumn (3 m sec-2). Of 28 rivers
flowing in the lake, Argichi, Masrik and
are the largest. The outflow (River Hrazdan) is artificially regulated.
The hydrological indices of outflow for the different periods of water management
strategy are given in the Table 1. Because of energy crisis the outflow
increased once again in 1991, and the balance was negative during the 1990's.
In natural conditions the ice-cover had been formed once in 15-20 years,
during 1970-1980s almost every year, but the last 10 year the ice-cover
has not appiered . The temperature of water in July-August exceeds 18oC,
in shallow waters it is 22-24oC.
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Socio-economic features. First settlements in this territory date
back to the 7,000 B. C. The cliff drawings of hunting scenes of the early
Stone Age, the ruins of citadel date back to the 6th century B. C., early
Christian shrine and funerary steles of 4th century in the Noradus, church
and monastery of 9th century on the Sevan Peninsula attract the tourists
interested in archaeology, architecture and history. At present in the basin
of Lake Sevan are 92
with total of 277,600 inhabitants (1999) and population density 52 per km2.
In the past the area was used mainly for fishery. At present potato and
grain farming is the traditional form of land use at the altitudes of 1900-2200
m a. s. l. High-mountain steppes, sub alpine and alpine meadows are used
for haying and summer pasture. The area has great potential for recreation
and tourism development.
To maintain the natural resources the Sevan National Park had been established
in 1978 to protect the most important source of freshwater and fish in the
Transcaucasus Region, with a total area of 150,100 ha. More than 90% of
protected land is owned by National Park. The rest is the property of motels,
camping and private farmers. No activities except research are allowed in
the 4 reservation zones with total surface 3514
Artanish (2,243 ha), Kartchaghbyur (210 ha), Lichk (645 ha), Noradus (416
ha). Restricted activities are allowed in the recreation and economical
zones (22,000) ha). Several limitations exist for external protective zone
of the Sevan National Park (339,000 ha). Owners of external protective zone
are mainly private farmers. Some lands are property of the local administration,
some others of the government.
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of the Environment Report of Armenia 1998.
Performance Review of Armenia, 2000 (EPRA).
WG4, 1998. National Environmental Action Plan. Water Quality and Water
Resources Management. Volume A: Main Report and Volume B: Appendices.
Prepared by IWACO/JINJ/Norconsult.
Environmental Action Program - Armenia, Main Report, Ministry of Nature
Protection of the Republic of Armenia. The World Bank, 1999.
Sevan Action Program, Main Report, Ministry of Nature Protection of
the Republic of Armenia, The World Bank, 1999.