Armenia is a country in West Asia, located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. The country occupies an area of about 11,484 sq miles and has a population of approximately 2,924,816 people. Armenia is a landlocked country, surrounded by Turkey, Georgia, Iran, and Azerbaijan, and its terrain is mainly mountainous, with forests and fast-flowing rivers. Historically, Assyrians referred to Armenia as Nairi which means "Land of the lakes and rivers." As the name suggests, Armenia contains a number of freshwater lakes and rivers. The Aras River is the longest river in Armenia.
The Longest Rivers in Armenia
The Aras is the longest river in Armenia and ranks among the longest in the Caucasus. The river has a total length of 1,072 km and covers a total basin area of 102,000 sq km. Originating in Turkey, the Aras flows along the Armenia-Turkey border, the Turkey-Azerbaijan border, Iran's borders with Armenia and Azerbaijan, and then runs through Azerbaijan until it empties into the Kura River. The Aras drains the southern part of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, and its main branches include the Meghri, Voghji, Kasagh, Akhurian, Vorotan, Arpa, Azat, and Hrazdan rivers.
The Akhurian River is a river in the South Caucasus, with a length of 205 km and a basin area of 9,500 sq km. The river flows from Lake Arpi, Armenia, forms part of the Armenia-Turkey border, and then empties into the Aras River. The Akhurian River flows through numerous cities, including Yerazgavors, Yervandashat, Bagaran, Ani and Gyumri.
The Vorotan River is a river in the South Caucasus, with a length of 179 km and a basin area of 5,650 sq km. The river originates in the Syunik Province of South Armenia, flows for 119 km through Armenia, for another 59 km through the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and then empties into the Aras River. The Vorotan passes through various deep canyons and mountainous regions of Armenia and has three reservoirs and an adjoining hydropower plant, which were built during the Soviet era. The Votoran River is considered a left tributary of the Aras.
The Hrazdan River is one of Armenia's largest rivers, with a length of 146 km and a basin area of 2,560 sq km. The river originates in the northernmost part of Armenia's Lake Sevan, flows through the Kotayk Province, the city of Yerevan, which is Armenia's capital, and into the Ararat plain, where it merges with the Aras River. Water from the Hrazdan is used to irrigate crops and power hydro-electric plants.
The Arpa is a river that has a length of 126 km and is a left tributary of the Aras River. The river originates in the Vayots Dzor Province of Armenia, and flows through the country as well as Nakhichevan, which is an enclave of Azerbaijan. The Arpa also flows through numerous cities and towns, as well as the Spandaryan Reservoir.
Water Pollution in Armenia
More than 20% of rivers in Armenia are highly polluted, especially from nearby mines. Some of these rivers include the Hrazdan, Deded and Akhurian. Metal deposits from mines have negatively impacted the ecosystems of various streams, including the Karchevan and Voghji. High levels of pollution in these rivers is also linked to the dumping of wastewater. The government is attempting to address these pollution problems, and have introduced solid-waste disposal, water and air pollution taxes. The revenue collected from these taxes is used for environmental protection activities.