Sarsang reservoir

CivilNet’s Artsakh team visited the Sarsang reservoir, where the water level has dropped sharply in recent weeks due to the release of large amounts of water to power hydroelectric stations and meet the energy needs of Artsakh’s 120,000 besieged residents. After the 2020 war, Artsakh lost most of its hydropower plants, and Sarsang is the largest hydropower hub remaining in Karabakh, meeting around half of the domestic demand.

Azerbaijan is carrying out “energy terror” against Artsakh, having disrupted the power line that runs from Armenia to Artsakh since January 9 and cutting off the gas supply from Armenia to Artsakh about ten times during the blockade, now past its 80th day. Both the power line and the gas pipeline pass through territories that came under Azerbaijan’s control after the war.

Importantly, the drop in Sarsang’s water level will cause problems not only for Artsakh, but also for Azerbaijan, as there are Azerbaijani villages and agricultural areas downstream of the reservoir that rely on Sarsang’s waters for irrigation. Most likely they will face an acute water shortage this season.

Officials from Artsakh estimate that it will take several years to restore Sargsang’s waters to their pre-blockade levels.