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Lake Profile

Sevan

General Information

Description Lake Sevan is the largest alpine high mountain freshwater lake in the Caucasus region and in Armenia Highland.

Lake Sevan is a source of water for irrigation, hydropower, recreation, fish, migratory bird habitat and nursery zones for aquatic and amphibian species.

Country Armenia
Latitude 40° 17' 0" (40.2833)
Longitude 45° 24' 0" (45.4000)
State
River Basin Kura-Araks

Maps

 Sevan global index map (LakeNet Explorer)
 Sevan locator map
 Lakes of Armenia
 Lake Basin Management Initiative (LakeNet Explorer)
 USAID-supported Lake Basin Management and Biodiversity Conservation Technical Assistance 2003-2004 (LakeNet Explorer)

Physical Characteristics

Description Sevan's catchment basin spans an area one-sixth the size of all Armenia and is comprised of 28 small inflow creeks and rivers.

Compared to the predisturbed state of Lake Sevan, volume, area and depth have all decreased. Prior to disturbance (1930s), Lake Sevan held 58.50 ckm, covered 1,416 sqm, and was on average 41 meters deep and 100 meters at its deepest point.

Volume 32.94 km3
Surface Area 1,236.00 km2
Depth Mean depth: 27.0 m
Maximum depth: 80.0 m
Type Fresh
Permanent
Natural
Catchment Catchment size: 3,600.00 km2
Catchment/surface area ratio: 3:1

Socio-Political

Economic Value Lake Sevan is a source of recreation, tourism, and irrigation for the agriculture sector that accounts for 33% of Armenia's GDP. 80% of the nation's valued crops are supported by irrigation. Furthermore, hydropower provides 8% of total energy production in the country.
Primary Economic Sectors Agriculture - 33%
Major Cities Gavar City , the capital of Gegharquniq Marz, has 32,000 inhabitants. Other major cities are Sevan, Martuni and Vardenis. In Sevan, many people work in hotels and restaurants that are associated with lake tourism.
Population 275,000 (2001)

Watershed Management

Description The Lake Sevan Environmental Action Program aims to restore the lake in a sustainable manner that will enable tourism and recreation to continue to be promoted throughout the region. Other nation-wide projects include the Natural Resources Management and Poverty reduction for Armenia (World Bank) and the Program on Strengthening Water Management for Enhanced Environmental Quality (US AID).
Watershed Action Plan In development
Sub-basin Action Plan In development
Issues Water drainage and irrigation for agriculture pose a major threat to the lake's health. Over 20,000 hectares of marshes and wetlands have already been drained and lake levels have dropped over 19 meters in forty years. Also problematic is pollution from municipal sewage, agricultural runoff and industry.
Other Issues Invasive Species
Point source pollution
Polluted runoff
Specific Contaminants Pesticides
Monitoring Also monitored within the lake are fish and crayfish commercial stocks.
Monitoring Programs In-Lake
Water Quality
Lake Use

Biodiversity Conservation

Description The Salmo ischchan, Barbus goktshaikus, and Varikorhinus capoeta fish species are endemic to Lake Sevan. Several fish species are severely threatened due to drying up of spawning grounds. The Lutra lutra otter that once depended on wetland habitat has gone extinct within recent decades.

Lake Sevan is designated as a National Park.

Designations National Designation
Ramsar Site
Ramsar Site Name Lake Sevan
Ramsar Designations 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7
Species of Concern

Organizations

Armenia Ministry of Nature Protection
NGO Professional Entrepreneurial Orientation Union of Armenia

LakeNet Programs

World Lake Basin Management Initiative
USAID-funded Technical Assistance
Armenia: Lake Biodiversity Conservation and Wetlands Management
LBMI Regional Experience Sharing and Review Workshop for Europe, Central Asia & the Americas

Documents

LakeNet News, Winter 2003-2004 (PDF)  Newsletter. Final. English. 12/20/2003.
Managing Lake Basins for Sustainable Use - Lake Basin Management Initiative Final Report (PDF)  Project Report. Final. English. 2/27/2006.
Sevan  Experience Brief. Final. Jenderedjian et al. 2/27/2006.

Resources

Armenia - Abstracts and Program for the International Seminar on the Conservation and Wise Use of Wetlands, 15-19 Sept. 2003
Armenia Map
Armenia Natural Resources Project
Armenia SGF Training Program, Ramsar
Driving Forces
Fish and fisheries in Lake Issyk-kul (Tien Shan), River Chu and Pamir Lakes
Fish and fisheries in Lake Sevan, Armenia and in some other high altitude lakes of Caucasus
ILEC Database
Kura-Araks River Basin map & information
Lake Sevan National Park
National Resource Management & Poverty Reduction Program for Armenia
Profile of Ramsar sites in Armenia
Projects funded under the Ramsar Small Grants Fund, 1991-2000
Seminar on wise use of wetlands in European New Independent States, Armenia: Summary Report (September 2003)
Sevan Ramsar Fact Sheet
Strengthening Regional Sustainable Water Management for Enhanced Environmental Quality

News

6/16/2004 - Problem of National Park- Lake Sevan
4/23/2004 - Towards a Lake Basin Management Initiative
10/21/2003 - Armenia's vanishing forests
12/15/2001 - Armenian Parliament debates saving Lake Sevan

Additional Data Sources

Birkett, C., and I. Mason. 1995. A new global lakes database for remote sensing programme studying climatically sensitive large lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 21 (3) 307-318.

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