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Armenia is part of:
Asia & Pacific · Caucasus · Europe & CIS · Western Asia ·
Water Basins of Armenia:
Kura-Araks · Lake Sevan ·
Facts & Figures edit
Capital Yerevan
Neighbouring Countries Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Turkey
Total Area 29,743 km2
  - Water 1,289 km2 (4.33%) / 433 m2/ha
  - Land 28,454 km2
Coastline 0 km
Population 3,016,312 (101 inhab./km2)
HDIA 0.777 (2007)
Gini CoefficientA 33.8 (1995)
Nominal GDPB $12,070 million
GDP (PPP) Per CapitaB $6,600
National UN Presence
Land UseC
  - Cultivated Land 5,347 km2 (18.79%)
     - Arable 4,775 km2 (16.78%)
     - Permanent Crops 572 km2 (2.01%)
     - Irrigated 2,860 km2
  - Non cultivated 66,099 km2 (81.21%)
Average Annual RainfallD 562 mm
Renewable Water ResourcesE 10.5 km3
Water WithdrawalsF 2.95 km3/yr
  - For Agricultural Use 66%
  - For Domestic Use 30%
  - For Industrial Use 4%
  - Per Capita 957 m3
Population with safe access to
  - Improved Water Source 92%
     - Urban population 99%
     - Rural population 80%
  - Improved Sanitation 83%
     - Urban population 96%
     - Rural population 61%
References & Remarks
A UNDP Human Development Report
B CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia
C CIA World Factbook Country Profiles
D Aquastat - FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture
E CIA World Factbook
F Earthtrends

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Date Short Description Link
02 October 2008 Yervandashat community's Water Network operational FIND OUT MORE

Country Profile: Climate, Geography, Socio-Economic Context

Country Profile: Water Bodies and Resources

Armenia Now: H2-Oh: Condition of water network leaves residents wondering what they are drinking (Hundreds of residents in the town of Aparan fell ill after drinking water became contaminated with sewage. The World Bank will allocate 240 million dram ($600,000) for restoration of pipes in Aragatsotn, while USAID and the UNDP will release $320,000 to repair reservoirs and the drinking water system in Syunik)

118 M. USD have been granted to Armenia, as one out of 16 countries worldwide, by the US "Millenium Challenge Corporation" for reconstruction of WSS systems (announcememnt through CENN, 18 Aug 05). For the first time in the history of RA a "National Water Program" is created to use the water resources of Armenia rationally. A hearing has been organized with USAID in Dec; the final variant of the document will be ready in Jan/Feb and will be represented to the Government for ratification. (Source: CENN)

The Republic of Armenia covers a territory of 29,740 km², 4.8 percent of which is occupied by the surface of the lakes and Lake Sevan in particular. The longest distance from the North-West to the South-East equals 360 km and from the West to the East is 200 km. Armenia is described as a mountainous country. Ninety percent of its territory lies 1,000 m above sea-level. The lowest point is 375 m (to the North-East of the valley of the Debed River). Over 40 percent of the territory varies in the range of 2,000 m to 4,090 m (the top of the mountain Aragats). The average altitude is 1,830 m. There are 9,480 small and large rivers in the territory of Armenia with an overall length of 23,000 km. Fourteen of those rivers are more than 35 km long and 379 rivers are more than 10 km long. Some of the small rivers are intermittent water flows.

To satisfy the surface water demand in the low-flow period, 74 reservoirs have been built with the overall useful volume of approximately 1,000 m³. About 15 irrigation dams need major repairs, and some require urgent attention to reduce the risk of failure of the dams while working at full capacity. About 10 new dams with a total of 400 million m³ additional volume are now being built. The lakes of Armenia are mountainous and generally small, except for Lake Sevan, which at present occupies an area of 1,240 km² (1,896.6 m above sea-level). Due to careless use of water, the level of Lake Sevan has decreased by 19 m, and the volume has decreased by 41 percent as compared to the natural conditions of the lake in 1930. The natural water resources of the underground waters in Armenia are estimated to be about 4,017 million m³ including spring flows (40 percent), drainage flows (36 percent), and deep flows (24 percent).

Armenia is scarce in surface water resources. The rivers are mountainous and are tributaries of the rivers of Kur and Araks. Armenia lies wholly within the Kura (Kür) River basin. The basins of the tributaries flowing directly to the Kura River cover less than 25 percent of the country in the northeast. The river forms an important geo-political boundary with Turkey in particular. There are more than 200 rivers with no less than 10 km in length in the republic. Some 700 square km is covered by the Kur river basin (Debet, Pambak, Agstev, Tavoush, etc.), while that of the Araks - 22790 km2 (Akhourian, Kasakh, Metsamor, Hrazdan, Azat, Vedi, Arpa, Vorotan, etc.). The rivers and lakes of Armenia are mountainous and small with the exception of lake Sevan, which covers 1326 km2 of territory and situated at 1897 m a.s.l. Among others one can mention the lakes of Arpi, Kuri, Akna, Aigr and Sev lich.

On average Armenia receives annually 18.4 billion m3 of precipitation of which 6.2 billion m3 runs off as river water within the country. On top of that, Armenia has the right to use half of the water from the international rivers Araks and Akhurian, totaling 1.2 billion m3/yr. In total 7.4 billion m3 of river water is available in the country annually. The annual recharge of groundwater is estimated at 3.8 billion m3 of which 1.3 billion m3 re-appears as springs within the country. Of the remaining 2.5 billion m3 , 0.7 billion m3 has been extracted by wells and has been used for irrigation, domestic and industrial use. According to the above mentioned assessments, at least an additional 0.5 billion m3 (25%) of the 2.5 billion m3 can still be used safely annually. There are however problems in some regions where there is a lack of water sources. Part of these problems have been solved by re-distributing the water over the country. A second problem related to water availability is the distribution of the river run-off during the year.

Lake Sevan

The largest lake in Armenia is Lake Sevan, located in the east of the country. It lies at 1,925 metres above sea level, which makes it a strategic source of energy and irrigation water. The level of the lake has fallen since the 1930s due to the increasing demands for irrigation, hydropower, and domestic water supply. By 1972, its level had fallen by almost 19 metres and its surface area had been reduced to 1,250 square kilometres. Since 1972, unforeseen changes in the lake's ecology (loss of fish population), water quality (pollution by sewage) and microclimate (freezing of the lake in winter) have occurred.

Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia and also one of the largest alpine lakes of the world. As a result of its isolation and age, a unique water ecosystem and a few endemic species have developed. The lake is considered unique because the water contains a high level of phosphate and a low level of nitrogen. Consequently, nitrogen can be a limiting factor for the productivity of the plants. The size of Lake Sevan, its chemical composition, and its fauna and flora have undergone great changes during last 50 years. The changes were caused by the decrease of the lake level (19 m) and by increase of contamination resulting from human activities. The ecosystem of the lake and its balance have been greatly distorted because of this development and a process of eutrophication can be observed. The blossoming of blue-green seaweed was first registered in 1964, after which high-quality plants (macrophytes) were replaced by plankton seaweed. The classification of the lake has changed from oligotrophic to mezotrophic. The decrease of the lake level has also caused draught of oviparous areas of some kinds of endemic trout of Lake Sevan. About 100,000 hectare coastal marshes, including habitats for migratory birds have also dried.

Urban/Rural Coverage

Although 90 percent of Armenians have access to water, the reliability and quality of water services have deteriorated alarmingly in the past decade. Coverage in urban areas is generally higher than in rural areas, but intermittent service is common. Moreover, inadequate functioning of water treatment plants and dilapidated distribution networks have made drinking water unsafe in many urban centres leading to a rise in water-borne diseases such as typhoid and diarrhea. Rural water supply services are largely in a state of total disrepair.

Water Quality and Pollution

About 300 million m3 of wastewater are generated annually in Armenia. About 60 percent of wastewater flow discharges to open basins without any treatment, whereas the other 40 percent are treated mechanically. All municipal and industrial wastewaters are disposed through water disposal systems and collectors. Approximately, 60 to 80 percent of the wastewater flow is being disposed. About 60 percent of the total wastewater collectors and networks were constructed more than 20 years ago. In general, the agricultural areas do not have wastewater disposal systems. The wastewater removal system in Yerevan provides for about 97 percent of the area of the capital. The overall length of wastewater disposal collectors and the network is about 4,200 km. There are 20 biological wastewater treatment facilities in the territory of the country. Many structures supporting the processing of the wastewater treatment facilities are not functioning properly and the overall process of wastewater treatment has been disrupted. The volume of work and costs for renovation and rehabilitation have dramatically increased.

Due to insufficient renovation and rehabilitation works, the wastewater system is currently in emergency condition which results in cross connection of drinking water with the wastewater flows, and therefore causes epidemic diseases. Generally nitrogen compounds contained in the water indicate the contamination caused by agricultural areas and urban sewage. The high concentration of nicotine indicates the latest contamination of domestic wastewater. Contained phosphate indicates contamination caused by domestic wastewaters and fertilizers.

Water and the Armenian Economy

Agriculture constitutes an important part of the Armenian economy, most of which is dependant upon irrigation that started in Armenia about 3,000 years ago. Clay pipes were used to transport water to orchards and fields and some are still intact. Currently, the irrigation systems are in a dilapidated condition, which may lead to extreme environmental damage. Almost 70 percent of the equipped area needs rehabilitation. In addition, the management of irrigation systems requires adjustments to meet the needs of the recently privatized farms.

Country Profile: Legal and Institutional Environment

The provision of improved sources of safe drinking water and sanitation treatment in the country’s rural areas has also been slow. Recent changes in environmental legislation are aiming to help address some key issues, including water resources management, natural resource conservation and climate change adaptation.

A new Water Code was passed on June 4, 2002. According to the Code, the "Water Resources Management Agency" and the "River Basin Management Bodies" manage, monitor, and plan protection and use of all water resources in the country. The "Water Resources Management Agency" controls water management and protection mainly through required "water use permits". Each of the "water use permits" must meet the requirements of the strategic management formulated according to the National Water Program and meet the water quality and quantity standards.

International Waters: Within a number of bilateral agreements, Armenia assumes obligations related to the development and use of international waters. Armenia has an agreement with Turkey concerning the use of the Araks and Akhurian Rivers. According to the agreement, the waters of these two transboundary rivers are divided equally. There is another agreement with Turkey concerning the joint use of the dam and the reservoir of the Akhurian River. According to another agreement, the waters of Araks River are divided equally (50 percent) between Iran and Armenia. Though these agreements were signed by Russia, Armenia is considered a successor country, and consequently is obliged to fulfill the respective provisions.

There have been decrees issued and agreements signed between Armenia and Georgia concerning the Debed River. Corresponding decrees were passed between Armenia and Azerbaijan concerning the use of waters of Arpa, Vorotan, Aghstev and Tavush Rivers.

Country Profile: Water Sector Coordination

See Sector coordination sub-page for detailed description

Country Profile: Trends in Water Use, Management and Sanitation

The absence of an integrated approach towards the management of water resources in Armenia had caused a chaotic state of water resources protection, management, and use. In order to regulate the water resources management sphere, the Republic of Armenia developed an "Integrated Water Resources Management Program" (IWRMP) with the assistance of The World Bank in 1999-2001. Within the program, the water resources of Armenia were evaluated, principles of water policy were developed, a program of institutional reforms of the management of water resources was recommended, and an outline of water supply and demand management was suggested. The concept of river basin management was also proposed, including introduction of annual and long-range planning procedures for water resources.

Based on recommendations of the IWRM program, a document titled Concept Paper on the RA Water Resources and Water Systems Management Reformation was developed. This was accepted by the Government of Armenia according to Decree No. 92 dated 9 February 2001. Beginning in 2001, the Government of Armenia initiated the practical implementation of the principles of the Concept Paper. In 2001, the State Committee of Water System under the Government of Armenia was created to coordinate and manage the organizations employing water systems (water supply, wastewater removal, and irrigation).

The main objective of the Committee is to:

  • control the operation of the state-owned water systems (intake structures, transferring communications, distribution and collection systems, treatment and other technological operation),
  • support the financial sustainability of the organizations employing those systems, and
  • create prerequisites for involving private sector through private "management contracts" with competition to ensure an appropriate management of water systems.

With the purpose of regulating the tasks of water resources management, the Water Resources Management Agency was established in February 2002. The establishment of this agency made real the principle of the Concept Paper, according to which the functions of water resources protection, management, and use were separated among three bodies.

One of the Armenian priorities concerning freshwater resources is to cover all activities in society, in particular land use, agriculture, forestry, industry and energy generation in such a manner as to introduce overall sustainable use of water resources.

Integrated water resources management is now a top priority for the Armenian government, namely in areas where water quality problems or conflicts between use and protection occur. The water system is under continuous monitoring so that the effects of water protection measures can be assessed.

Country Profile: Challenges and Opportunities


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Projects and Case Studies

Projects in or about Armenia

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Case studies in or about Armenia

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5 most popular publications on Armenia
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Who is Who

People working in Armenia
  1. Mary.Matthews ‎(1,255 views)
  2. Tim.turner ‎(5,241 views)
  3. Georgi.arzumanyan ‎(3,438 views)
  4. Armen.martirosyan ‎(1,238 views)
  5. Vladimir Narimanyan ‎(2,486 views)
  6. Vahagn Tonoyan ‎(2,813 views)

See the complete list of Waterwiki users working in Armenia

Organizations working in Armenia
  1. Caucasus Research Resource Centers ‎(2,934 views) . . WikiBot

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented organizations in Armenia


See also

External Resources


 Armenia Now Condition of water network 19Jan07.pdf

 Water Code Final English.doc

 National Water Policy English Final.doc

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