Socio-ecological research to promote the restoration of Khanjal Lake

Creating a detailed plan to remove a locking dam, reinstating the local lake to its natural state, enhancing biodiversity, and revitalizing wetland ecosystems.

Introduction

Khanjali Lake is located in the southern part of Georgia, in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, on the territory of the Ninotsminda municipality. The lake is located in the Agrichai River basin, a tributary of the Faravniskali River and one of the components of the Javakheti hydrographic network.

Lake Khanjal and its surroundings are a part of the wetland ecosystems of the volcanic lands of the South Caucasus, which are characterized by the abundance of lakes, swamps, rivers and mountain wetlands and include both the countries of the South Caucasus (Georgia and Armenia) and the northeastern part of the Republic of Turkey. These areas are important for migratory birds as resting places. The area of the lake was initially 12.2 km2, and it was the 4th largest lake among the lakes of Georgia. The lake’s area has now been reduced to 7,272 km2 due to a locking dam.

At a glance

Project typeBarrier identification and prioritisation
Project statusLive
CountryGeorgia
RiverKhanchali, Agrichai
Key speciesAlburnoides bipunctatus eichwladi, Leiciscus cephalus orientalis Nordmann, Barbus mursa

Project context and opportunity

A significant part of the lake has been artificially drained, and its primary function has been completely transformed. The problem is the deterioration of biodiversity on the artificial wetlands, improper agricultural production, flooding of the microclimate and deteriorated soil-edaphic conditions, the risk of dangers arising in the event of a dam breach, and several other dangers. The project involves promoting the restoration of the natural state of the lake, which should become a prerequisite for correcting the negative results obtained after the artificial transformation and modification of the environment.

Removing the dam will restore the natural state and quality of the lake, improve the dwindling state of biodiversity, and return wetland ecosystems to a healthier state.

Project aims

The project aims to restore Khanjal Lake within its natural boundaries. To restore the existing wetland area in its surroundings and improvement of biodiversity, the project team will focus on three main activities:

  • Informing the local population about the expected results;
  • Preparing a large-scale plan depicting the dismantling of the dam; and
  • Developing a plan and schedule for the dismantling process and preparation of recommendations.

A visit will be made to the region where the project partners will meet the local population to discuss dismantling the dam. The population will be informed about the risks associated with this engineering activity and what positive results it will serve in terms of environmental conservation, restoration of ecosystems, improvement of biodiversity and improvement of the economic condition of the population.

Partners

Friends of Earth Georgia