On Risk Assessment of Climate Change on Water Resources of Armenia

The risk assessment process includes:

• Identification of the possible risks

• The evaluation of their probability

• Environmental impacts of risks

• Risk control measures

It is very important to evaluate the risks of not implementation of different measures designed in the project, as well as to develop the mitigation measures.

The risk assessment level (extent of details) depends on the nature of the implemented project, impacted subject and intensity and so on.

It is predicted that due to the increased air temperature and evaporation the flow of Armenian rivers will be reduced on 21% in 2010, which will create great irrigation and energetic problems for agriculture and energetic needs of the country [4]. No investigations are carried out and consequently no data are available on the impact of the river flows reduction on the underground water reserves so it is not possible to appreciate the short term and long term magnitudes of potable water in country.

The reduction of water reserves will coincide with the growth of the demand on water resources, since due to the climatic peculiarities namely due to the high air temperature the households will require more potable water and the needs of agriculture in irrigation water supplies will increase.

The real impact on agriculture will depend on the distribution of irrigation water between the agricultural farms, on the resolutions about water users permits' limits, as well as on the application of water saving technologies.

The share of water-resistant and vulnerable to drought conditions agricultural plants is 14% from GDP [9]. So the climate change in Armenia will result in the reduction of agricultural production. These will in turn lead to the reduction of the productivity since irrigation water demand will increasingly exceed the supply quantity. The irrigation problems will arise on one hand due to the lack of necessary infrastructure, on other hand due to the decline of the river flows.

Strong winds and heavy rains will damage the crop and can cause the natural catastrophes such as erosive mud flows and floods, which in turn can damage the soil and the irrigation structures.

It is necessary to implement a series of climate change adaptation measures in Armenia, particularly [6]

• to improve the irrigation and other water supply structures in the context of the present and up-coming changes in air temperature conditions, in the amount of precipitations and of the river flows The mentioned measure is undoubtedly effective since is oriented on future changes and is targeted to ensure the adaptation. This measure will require construct additional water use structures, rehabilitation of the majority of the existing ones, as well as the expansion of the irrigation structures.

• to stimulate the rise of the effectiveness of water and energy use in the households, agricultural farms and other businesses The reduction of the water demand is one of most important ways to avoid the water deficit caused by the climate changes.

• to provide trainings and consultations on the effective methods of water use For example, the training of the population and/or the necessary technical assistance.

The climate change can impact also the social components such as raise of poverty and social inequity. The following impacts are possible:

• the decline in water provision, the growth of health threatening risks, the probability of floods and other nature catastrophes

• the reduction of the water provision level: the deficit of water resources will lead to the decrease of water resources caused by the climate changes

• health threatening risks: The population health situation depends also on the quality of water and on the ultimate climatic phenomenon

• decline of the productivity of agricultural production

• the raise of frequency of ultimate weather phenomenon, as well as of flood probability

The general kinds of damages in Armenia are expected to be of social and qualitative nature [7]. The key climate change adaptation measures are the improvement of water resources use management and water supply structures, which are at the same time the measures targeted to the economic development.

The lower level of precipitations and the higher air temperature are speeding up the evaporation processes, reducing the snow cover and the spring water flows. As a result the less amount of water comes to rivers. The river water flows, the water levels in lakes and underground water reserves are changing as a result of climate changes.

According to the investigations in Armenia the total river water flows will decline for 7% [8]. In the number of rivers the major reason for changes in water flows are the result of smaller quantities of the snow and ice covers accumulated during the winter season, which in turn is the sequence of the reduced precipitations and high air temperature.

The spring time snow melting is the major source of cold alpine waters in the Sevan Lake. The 28 rivers and inflows flowing into the Sevan Lake will lose up to 41% of their flows. And even the large scale programs directed to raise the water level in the Lake will not be able to compensate the decline and lose of the water level.

The 4/10 of the used water is ground water resources and the 6/10 is taken from rivers and lakes.

• the preparatory adaptation with the purpose to be ready to the forthcoming water reduction The measures of the private sector are the installation of the water collecting containers, as well as to reuse the water if possible. For example, use of the wastewater /not sewage wastewater/ for irrigation purposes. The new saving practices are very important for households and individuals. The investments from the state budget are to be done for large scale infrastructural programs aimed to prevent the water losses through the enlargement of the water saving facilities and raising the effectiveness of the water supply facilities. The investments must involve the followings:

to build the dams and water reservoirs with water collecting conveniences to develop irrigation supply system to prevent the water losses to enlarge the current irrigation system network to increase the water inflow into the Sevan Lake to adapt new environmental legislation focused on the stimulation of the water use savings which will limit the water use volumes of households, industrial and agricultural enterprises the Government can initiate trainings and educational programs to raise the awareness of water users in the regions with high water consumption figures

Because of the Climate Changes it is necessary [9]:

• to revise the current standards of the sanitary zones of protection of the potable water sources

• to establish a new management system of the Water National Program

• to implement the soil melioration works and thus to reduce the negative environmental impact

• to account the water use levels

• to make water use balances for water basins

• to develop the programs of rehabilitation of the hydro ecosystems of the Sevan Lake

• to develop the National Action Plan to prevent the negative impact on water resources

• to develop the principles of the social and private cooperation for the effective use of water resources

• to develop new experimental irrigation system practices and so on

The great number of different types of risks will be generated by the natural catastrophes prevention of which requires significant expenses. Integrated international cooperation to control the Climate changes requires the coordination of the governmental ecological policies of different countries in long term perspective. The major components of the policies are the reduction of pollution, the reduction of the forests' cuttings, the enlargement of the cleaner productions and technologies.

The constantly going on climate changes modifying the physical geographical parameters of the whole planet on one hand, and the local geography of the human's activity on the other hand. The scientists predict the raise of the average air temperature for 5°C in compare to the preindustrial human society. The consequences of the climate changes will be also:

• the large scale migrations of the population of the planet and as a result the economic and political crisis

• poverty and hunger as a result of the reduction of the agricultural land resources

• drastic reduction in biodiversity since lots of species will not be able to adapt to the new climate conditions

• the raise of diseases and mortality level

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