3rd Pilot Project Concept – Zayamchay

The priority areas for cooperation between Azerbaijan and the European Union have been agreed by the Azerbaijan Government and the European Commission in the country Strategy Paper for 2007-2013 under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. The mutually agreed EU/Azerbaijan Action Plan shows Azerbaijan’s commitment to implement jointly agreed priorities in compliance with international and European norms and principles. The plan identified priority actions for key environmental sectors including water management. This document defines the basic principles of water management, the main objectives and the implementation plan in EU. According to the EU Directive on the assessment and management of flood risks [2007/60/EC] (often referred to as the ‘Floods’ Directive) the first milestone in its implementation at the basin-wide level is required to undertake a preliminary flood risk assessment (PFRA) in accordance with the Article 4 and identification of those areas for which it has been concluded that potential significant flood risks exist or might be considered likely to occur (so called Areas of Potential Significant Flood Risk in accordance with the Article 5 of the Directive). “3rd Pilot Project Concept – Implementation of EU Flood Directive in Zayamchay River sub-basin (Central Kura Basin District, Azerbaijan)” is the first in Azerbaijan to be carried out in compliance with the Floods Directive and to be undertaken in conjunction with the development of a compliant RBMP for the pilot project. “3rd Pilot Project Concept – Implementation of EU Flood Directive in Zayamchay River sub-basin (Central Kura Basin District, Azerbaijan)” was performed by IQLIM Ltd commissioned by the company Dynamics Consulting Company. Project objectives

    • Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment, impacts on human health and life, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activities;
    • Risk Assessment: information in this assessment will be used to identify the areas at significant risk which will then be modeled in order to produce flood hazard and risk maps. These maps include the details on flood extent, depth and level for three risk scenarios (high,medium and low probability);

Flood Risk Management Plans: these are meant to indicate to policy makers the nature and parameters of flood risk. It is necessary to submit a management plan for the prevention of flooding, be prepared for the implementation of the proposed measures. The pilot project will contribute to the actual implementation of one of the important requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive through the developed Central Kura RBMP.

Geographical location of Zayamchay

Zayamchay basin is located within the territory of the Ganja- Gazakh economic region – Gadabay, Tovuz and Shamkir districts  which are situated in the northeastern slope of the Lesser  Caucasus Mountains, the western part of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Zayamchay River belongs to the Kur river basin and is considered as the right tributary of it. The river starts from the Shahdag mountains range and flows into Shamkir water reservoir. The catchment area is 948 km2, length – 90 km.

The following work has been done on the project

  • Existing maps were collected and analyzed – the geological, geomorphological, soil, vegetation, forest and land-use structure, covering a river basin.
  • Historical and observed data about hydrological regime of the river were obtained, archival and literary information about the nature of the flood are collected.
  • Meteorological data for the river basin were collected, climate change on the river flow were studied and estimated.
  •  Location of the population in the river basin, economic activity, information about the sensitive nature, historical and cultural monuments were collected. This makes it possible to evaluate the negative impact of population and economic activity on formation of floods and on the contrary, the negative impact of floods. Maps of flood influence zone for river basin were created.
  • Analysis of data collected as a result of the above factors, classification and evaluation of the factors causing of dangerous floods (natural and anthropogenic), the probability of expected future floods is determined, hazard category for different scenarios and parameters of flooding scenarios for the settlements along the river were defined. Hazard maps and flood risk maps were created.
  •  Flood risk management plan was created on Zayamchay river basin: on the basis of the flood hazard map and flood risk map; Institutional and organizational measures; Flood monitoring and the creation of the Early Warning System, preventive measures to reduce flood risks in Zayamchay river basin.

Meetings with the population in the villages around Zayamchay

Researches carried out according to project allowed to obtain the following results

Current Situation:

    • Zayamchay is attributed to the group of spring summer tumultuous rivers because of its water regime.Main feeding source is snow water (28%), groundwater (43%), and spring-summer and autumn rains (29%) as well. Floods in the river occur in spring-summer months. During the floods, water level in narrow part of river valley increases up to 2.0-2.5 m. During the flood that had taken place in 1963, water level increased up to 3.5 m in Agbashlar station, in some parts of the river valley it had been more than 3-4 m.
    • The critical water level observes in different full flowing periods and as a result, material damages are seen because of floods. Due to snow melting and intensive rain, there have been devastating floods in 1954, 1957, 1959, 1963, 1964, 1968, 1981-1983, 1985, 1997, 2003, 2003-2004 and 2009 and caused serious damages to surrounding areas.
        • In Zayamchay catchment area, on the area of the main river flow (80%) forming, climate changes have occurred over the last 50 years. The warming recorded as of all seasons in Zayamchay basin, the maximum warning in summer-autumn months (0,8-1,2⁰C ), and the minimum during winter season (0,27⁰C ), 0,7⁰C increase in temperature observed during the one year.
        •  Climate changes affect the Zayamchay flow and these affections over the seasons are as following: 1) Despite of decrease for precipitation in winter, 19% increase was observed in river flow. This caused the warm winter and the melting of snow cover consequently increases in river flow. 3) The less precipitation in spring and summer of the year led to 7-19% decrease in river flow. 3) In general the annual flow (water reserve) of Zayamchay has decreased 8% because of the climate changes.
        • For the settlements along the river and its tributaries have been calculated the main parameters of historical floods (water level, depth, water flow). The main parameters of the maximum flood that occurred in 1963 were determined based on the analysis of hydrological and hydrographic information by interpolation for settlements and sensitive areas along the river Zayamchay. The maximum water level during the flood along the river increased by 2- 4 m, at this time the water flow in the river was 310-380 m3/sec. This is 60 times more than the average water flow. Based on the analyzed flood information ” Flood Impact Zone Map” was compiled in GIS format in a scale of 1:25 000.
        •  Flood impact was evaluated for administrative regions in the direction of Zayamchay river. It was found from the results of researches, that in Gadabay -15, in Tovuz -18, in Shamkir – 7 villages affected by floods. Over the years, floods caused damage to the population and farming of villages: in Gadabay – household of 315 families; in Tovuz – more than 120 families (1 man died);
        • In Shamkir – households more than 50 families, irrigation canals, bridges, roads were affected by flood.
    • Assessment of flood hazard and flood risk

      Analyzing the hydrological information for 1940-2013 years, the river flow variability was determined and the probability of flood origin was calculated. The calculated results of the flood probability allow us to classify the floods scenarios: floods with a low probability – are possible 1 time in 200 years (0.5% probability), floods with a medium probability – are possible 1 time in 100 years (1% probability), floods with a high probability – are possible 1 time in 20 years (5% probability), floods with a high probability – are possible 1 time in 5 years (20% probability). Flood hazard rating was determined taking into account flood parameters, suitable for these scenarios. These parameters were calculated for all the settlements located along the river.

    • For a various scenarios, in accordance with the categories of flood risk, “Flood hazard and flood risk maps” were made in a GIS format (scale is 1:10 000) for Zayamchay river basin. These maps have allowed to identify areas at risk of flooding.

      Flood Risk Management Plan in Zayamchay River Sub-Basin

      1. Institutional and Organizational measures

      Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is the proper management of water resources in the river basin.
      Researches in Zayamchay river basin showed that the river management on basin’s principle does not exist in Azerbaijan yet. The legislation of Azerbaijan, especially the Water Code, does not create the necessary basis for water management in the basin, including for flood risk management. As a result, local planning creates uncertainty in the management of water resources and flooding in the framework of integration. Accordingly, it is not possible to use the water resources of the rivers, to prevent the risk of flooding, to take responsibility for the maintenance of the ecological balance of the river basin, to take the right decisions in advance, to carry out effective management.
      To fill the gaps in the management of river basins it is necessary to make changes in Water Code and other legislative acts of Azerbaijan, in government regulations
      for integrated river basin management, and to create new basis. For this purpose, MENR, MES and Water Management OJSC, non-governmental organizations
      involved in environment and scientific organizations should
      put forward the initiative before the Authority and the Parliament of Azerbaijan on amendments to the legislation about IWRM. MENR should be the main organization in organizing and fulfilling these tasks.

      2. Measures to create a Flood monitoring and Early warning systems

      Creating of Early warning system is the first and most important element in the early prevention of Flood risks.
      In Zayamchay River Basin, only on the middle flow hydrological station Agbashlar is located. There are primitive hydrological measuring and observation equipment at the station. Nearby meteorological station in the river basin, is only located in Gadabay. The existing monitoring system does not allow obtaining sufficient information for early warning. This situation is typical for all river basins in Azerbaijan. The number of existing monitoring stations in mountain river basins is a few, and they are not provided with modern equipment and devices. So creating of centralized warning system, as well as monitoring stations in Zayamchay River Basin, as well as in basins of other mountain rivers, equipped with modern and flexible installation is one of the urgent tasks. The development of Early warning systems is the direct responsibility of the National Hydrometeorology Department of MENR.

      3. Measures to reduce flood risks

      Assessment of flood impact in Zayamchay river basin, investigations in flood zone, as well as meetings with local state organizations and collected information show that in order to prevent the negative impact of possible negative floods it is necessary to carry out a number of activities. The same problems exist in other mountain rivers. Of course, the solution of these problems should be carried out only by Integrated Control of flood risks, including all stages: flood protection, preparations for floods, emergency preparedness, response to repairing the damage caused by floods (rehabilitation measures), and others. In future in Zayamchay river basin activities in the socio-economic area: construction of houses, roads, bridges, hotels, recreation centers, the expansion of cultivated areas, lay on water pipes and canals, water utilization, production of construction materials in the river valley, etc. should be performed taking into account the flood regime, hydro morphology and ecological features of the river valley. Planning and execut ion is not in the field of administrative measures, and should be based on the basin principle. This will help in the future to reduce the damage caused by flooding and to preserve the ecological balance in the basin. Within the framework of the project to reduce the flood risk for human settlements and socio-economic objects along the river Zayamchay, concrete measures have been proposed. Some of them, as an example, are shown in the following maps. Planning for social and economic activities in the river basin should be carried out by executive authorities of Gadabay, Tovuz, Shamkir, together with MES and MENR through coordination.

      Project team: Ph.D Mansimov M., Ph.D Musayeva M.,Ph.D Mammadova G., Ph.D Aliyev E., Mehraliyeva Z.

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