The average altitude of the country is 1,800 meters (m) above sea level, ranging from 380 to 4,090 m (Mount Aragat). More than 90% of the country lies above 1,000 m and 72% above 1,500 m. The landform in the center and north of the country comprises rocky high mountain ranges separating narrow fertile valleys. Towards the south are the broad, flat and fertile Ararat valleys along the left bank of the Araks River forming the border with Turkey. To the west and north of Mount Aragat, and around Lake Sevan in the east, the landform is generally rolling with rocky outcrops. In the southeast, a few small irregular-shaped valleys are surrounded by high mountain ranges.
River basins and water resources
Armenia lies wholly within the Kür (Kura) River basin. The basins of the tributaries flowing directly to the Kür River cover less than 25% of the country in the northeast. Here the outflow to Georgia through the Debet River is estimated at about 0.890 km3/year and the outflow to Azerbaijan at about 0.555 km3/year. The Araks River, which forms the border between Turkey and Armenia and further downstream between Iran and Armenia, flows into Azerbaijan where it joins the Kür River about 150 km before its mouth at the Caspian Sea. The total outflow to Azerbaijan through the tributaries of the Araks River (Arpa, Vorotan, Vokhchi) is estimated at about 1.791 km3/year.
The renewable surface water resources (RSWR) originating inside the country are estimated at 6.271 km3/year and the internal renewable groundwater resources at 4.200 km3/year. The overlap between surface water and groundwater is estimated at 1.400 km3/year. This results in 9.071 km3 of total annual internal renewable water resources (IRWR). The border flow of the Araks River between Turkey and Armenia is estimated at 1.929 km3/year; that of the Akhuryan River, also between Turkey and Armenia, at 0.986 km3/year. Half of these flows, or 1.458 km3/year, is accounted for in Armenia's water balance. The total actual renewable water resources (ARWR) are thus estimated at 10.529 km3/year, of which 7.729 km3 is surface water, 4.200 km3 is groundwater, and 1.400 km3 overlap.
Lakes and dams
The largest lake in Armenia is Lake Sevan, located in the east of the country. It lies at 1,925 meters (m) above sea level, which makes it a strategic source of energy and irrigation water. The level of the lake, originally with a surface area of about 1,414 km2 and 58 km3 of stored water, has fallen since the 1930s due to the lake's increasing use for irrigation, hydropower and domestic water supply. By 1972, its level had fallen by almost 19 m and its surface area had been reduced to 1,250 km2. Since 1972, unforeseen changes in the lake's ecology (loss of fish population), water quality (entrance of sewage) and microclimate (freezing of the lake in winter) have occurred. The government attempted to raise the water level of the lake again through reduced water take-off (for example, no water use for hydropower production during winter since 1978); the construction of pumping stations; and inter-basin water transfer—from the Arpa and Vorotan rivers, through the Arpa-Sevan link (constructed) and the Vorotan-Arpa link (under construction), and from the Debet River, through the Debet-Sevan link (planned). The measures met with initial success and the lake rose about 1 meter between 1978 and 1990. However, demands on the water increased more rapidly at the beginning of the 1990s, when electricity was again generated during the winter. This resulted in the 1 m gained being lost again. Work has begun on the construction of more pumping stations and balancing reservoirs to raise the level of the lake. Especially because of the present energy shortages in the country, the construction of balancing reservoirs is both important and urgent, as year-round hydropower production from Lake Sevan is mining its water at an alarming rate without the possibility of winter water being stored for irrigation in the summer. If stored, some of this water would then allow summer releases from Lake Sevan to be reduced by some amount depending upon electricity requirements in the summer.
In 1995, the total capacity of reservoirs was estimated at 1,155 million m3, of which 1,108 million m3 was stored in reservoirs behind dams with a capacity of over 5 million m3 each. Most water is used for irrigation. About 145 million m3 is used for municipal and industrial purposes. The largest reservoir is on the Akhuryan River, which forms the border with Turkey. It has a storage capacity of 525 million m3, is shared with Turkey, and provides water for the irrigation of about 30,000 hectares (ha) in Armenia. New dams, under construction or identified, could store an additional almost 1,000 million m3 of water.
In 1994, the total water withdrawal for agricultural, domestic and industrial purposes was 2,925 million m3, of which 66% was used for irrigation purposes (Figure 1). Since the mid-1980s, there has been a decrease in the total water withdrawal, mainly due to a decrease in agricultural and industrial water withdrawal (Figure 2). Around 200 million m3 of water was estimated to be necessary for fisheries, recreation and power generation.
The total quantity of produced wastewater in 1994 amounted to 817 million m3, of which 415 million m3 was treated and only 0.1 million m3 re-used.
The World Bank reports that at least 80 countries have water shortages and 2 billion people lack access to clean water. More disturbingly, the World Health Organization has reported that 1 billion people lack enough water to simply meet their basic needs, unfortunately in many countries water is scarce or contaminated.
Pure Aqua provides wide range of filtration and economical solutions based on the Armenia’s water resources.
Armenia’s main water resources are:
- Surface water “is water from river, lake or fresh water wetland, which can be treated using different methods, such as Ultrafiltration Systems, Media Water Filters, Brackish Water RO.
- Ground Water or brackish water is from water located in the pore space of soil and rock “Borehole well”, which can be treated using Reverse Osmosis Systems, Media Water Filters, Chemical Dosing, UV Sterilizers.
- Government water supply, which could have high level of hardness or high level of chlorine, can be treated with Water Softeners, Media Water Filters
Pure Aqua manufactures water treatment systems that meet the World Health Organization requirements.