Zangu, One end in the Calm Waters of Sevan, the Other End on the Seedy Side of Araks

 

Emanuel Agjoyan

“The River Hrazdan” educational project of Yerevan “Mkhitar Sebastatsi” Educational Complex  

The aim of the project is to study the whole riverbed of the River Hrazdan addressing the ecological problems of the river, its economic importance, the historical events connected with the river, organizing riverside readings, photo and drawing PleinAirs.

Ecological Problems

The River Hrazdan is considered the most used river in Armenia. A number of canals, built on it, irrigate several dwelling areas, and the Sevan-Hrazdan Hydroenergetic Cascade with its seven hydroelectric power stations work with the waters of the Hrazdan. With all this, the river faces a number of environmental problems requiring urgent solutions. We are going to elucidate the environmental part of the project as much as we can, carrry out cleaning work in different sectors of the river with the help of the local inhabitants, make video lessons telling about the environmental problems of the river. While carrying out the project parallels will be drawn with the same problems in other countries trying to find optimal solutions. 

Economic Importance

Today the River Hrazdan is still important for the economy of Armenia. Besides irrigating several dwelling areas in Ararat Valley, it plays a significant role in the energetic system of   the Republic of Armenia. We are going to clarify the role of the river both for the whole country and for the settlements of Ararat Valley in particular. While carrying out the project we will consider the effective use of the river resources and will draw the outline of the possible future of the river.         

The river itself can be considered a river of historical significance. A number of ancient settlements were formed in the basin of the river, and Yerevan is among them. A reference will be made to the impact of the river on the formation and development of the settlements throughout the whole basin of the river. The River Hrazdan has been a source of inspiration for a number of writers. With this respect we will try to experience the writers' reflections by organizing riverside readings on different sectors of the riverbed.

The project will have a complete coverage when we add fine art and photographic PleinAirs to the above mentioned components. Despite man's constant impact and careless treatment the River Hrazdan still retains its originality and unique beauty.

Results        

Although the project has several directions which seem to have no connections with each other, the final results of the project can be summarized in a few sentences. First of all a big number learners will get to know the river better making new discoveries for themselves. The environmental problems, economic and historical importance of the river will be elucidated. Video lessons will be shot just on the bank of the river, new terrain maps and guidebooks  will be made and a huge database will be created for photo and painting exhibition. Finally, we will have a big media package telling about the River Hrazdan.     

The main directions of the educational research trips

Up the Riverbed of the Hrazdan  The trip begins in the north outskirts of Yerevan. Let me remind you that besides flowing in its natural bed the waters of the Hrazdan also flow through the canal which serves to regulate the water flow into the hydroelectric power stations. The canal water flows underground in some sectors.  The first stopping place is the water reservoir called Kanaker Lake where the Kanaker Hydroelectric Power Station begins its work. Near the Village of Ptghni we can see the canal come out of the underground tunnel, and if we continue our way we will see the canal go into the underground tunnel near the Village of Getamej. The next stopping place will be in Arzni where Arzni Hydroelectric Power Station begins its work. After the Arzni Hydroelectric Power Station, the river ramifies. One part of the water continues its flow through the natural riverbed, the other part flows through the canal. We will see a similar picture when we reach the next electric power station near Argel. The final stopping place will be near the Hrazdan Reservoir which is quite a big one because the waters of the canal, coming from the Sevan Hydroelectric Power Station, fall into it. During all this educational trip we witness the use of the waters of the River Hrazdan both in its natural riverbed and in the canals.        

During all this trip we can see that the Hrazdan is quite a fast flowing river although it is constantly changing its amount of water flow, from time to time turning into a shallow stream and then becoming a big river. Travelling in this direction we can also see the environmental problems which are the result of both household waste and the work of the hydroelectric power stations.    

Down the Riverbed of the Hrazdan  In this case our educational trip begins in the south- western part of Yerevan and continues in the direction of the river flow up to the place whre the Hrazdan flows into the Araks. The trip in this direction is not less interesting although we see a change in the river flow mode, economic importance and environmental problems. The river flow slows down, and getting rid of the hydroelectric power stations, ramifies into several canals irrigating Ararat Valley. The closer we come to the outfall, the the deeper the river is as there are no hydroelectric power stations; in addition to that, Artesian Basin waters are added, some sectors of which seem to be rivers. The environmental problems are quite different here. The cornerstone of these problems is eutrophication caused by careless use of the river water. In spite of all this, the area is good for organizing PleinAirs as everywhere one can admire the close and wonderful view of Mount Ararat.       

   Yerevan Sector of the Hrazdan Riverbed  

Different roads of the city lead to the Hrazdan Gorge in a few minutes; here we appear in  entirely another world immediately adjacent to the city. When we study the formation and development of settlements in the world, we find out that in most cases towns were formed and developed on the banks of big rivers, and Yerevan is not an exception. Our educational project “The River Flowing through our City” is aimed at studying the Yerevan sector of the River Hrazdan, elucidating and speaking out the environmental problems of the river, carrying out cleaning work in the riverside areas, getting to know the people living in these areas. We are going to organize walking tours along the river bed in Yerevan to see everything with our own eyes and study the river more closely.

A special attention will be paid to the sector of Yerevan Lake. Yerevan Lake is a huge reservoir of the River Hrazdan in the place of a village named Koghb. The construction of the reservoir was aimed at regulating the river flow for irrigation purposes. Besides this the reservoir was also intended to have a recreation importance. Although the reservoir is not adjacent to dwelling areas, environmental problems are rather impressive here. First of all, on different sectors of the reservoir, there is huge variety of waste, and only part of it is visible on the surface of the water. In addition to that, eutrophication process has begun due to creating favorable conditions for growing land plants at the bottom of the reservoir by periodically lowering and raising the level of the water. It is true that environmental problems are very acute in Yerevan Lake, but it is also true that it has a huge potential to become a recreational area for the citizens of Yerevan.   

         

 

The photo by Marianna Hapetyan

 

 

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