The risks of lower water levels in Lake Baikal remain

The risks of water level reduction in Baikal below the minimum mark remain relevant this year, reported the Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Russian Federation Sergey Donskoy in an interview with RIA News shortly before the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).

‘We are currently above the minimum level, but nevertheless we have less than half of the long-term annual average. Water shortage in Siberia affected Baikal. Despite our expectations, we haven’t seen any significant growth this year. We expected the situation to improve and to remain above the minimum level, but risks still remain relevant,’ said Donskoy. ‘The situation today is better than it was in previous years. It is better from the point of view of measures implemented on Baikal, including the withdrawal of water, including the response of local authorities,’ he noted.
‘We expect that the situation with Baikal will gradually come to normal and the water level will recover,’ said Donskoy. He clarified that the water level in Baikal is currently at 456.25 meters according to the Pacific system of heights.

Pursuant to the governmental decree, the water level in Baikal should be maintained within the range from 456 to 457 metres (according to the Pacific system of heights) in order to preserve normal environmental situation. Baikal is one of the greatest lakes on the planet, a lake of “superlatives”: the deepest (1,637 metres), the oldest (about 25 million years old) and having the most diverse flora and fauna among freshwater reservoirs. The lake is unique in terms of quality and supply of freshwater (23.6 thousand cubic kilometres — more than 20% of world reserves). Since the beginning of the 21st century a cyclical process of water scarcity have been observed in Lake Baikal, but it is difficult to say when it will end and when the average annual lake level will begin to rise. Due to the above, the escapage discharges from the Irkutsk hydropower installation on the Angara River, which flows out of the lake, were established on the minimum mark in 2015.

Source: RIA News

Опубликовано: 09 September 2017