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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Environmentalists called reckless idea to supply China with water from the Altai region

The Minister of agriculture of the Russian Federation Alexander Tkachev voiced the idea to supply China with fresh water. Its essence lies in the transfer of water from the Altai Krai to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region of China through the territory of Kazakhstan. The Ministry of agriculture explained that we are talking about the excess water that is formed during the spring floods in Hilevskaya reservoir and Kulunda main canal. However, during Soviet times, such a project already existed – but never reached the implementation stage. In detail the Soviet and Russian projects for the transfer of fresh water in Asia understood the correspondent “MK”.

The amount of the surplus flood waters which officials of the Ministry of agriculture intend to transfer to China, is enormous: the Agency referred to the figure of 70 million cubic meters of water. However, this will significantly upgrade the engineering infrastructure of the two hydraulic structures (reservoir Hilevskaya Aleyskaya irrigation system and is powered from the Ob reservoir Kulunda main canal). The Department has hastened to declare that the project would not be detrimental to the ecological state of water bodies of the Altai territory. However, not all experts agree with the position of the Ministry of agriculture.

– Declare global plans for the transfer of fresh water in China without an extensive, detailed calculations is the height of foolishness, ” says Victor Danilov-Danilyan, an economist, an ecologist and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, – first, in order to bring water from the Altai region through Kazakhstan to China will need to do a lot of the technical work of laying the channels. It will be costly, and the cost of output water is very large. Almost certainly this project is simply going to be unprofitable. The second point – the officials very easily decided to part with the excess of fresh water. Of course, Yes, there are floods, the flood – but do not forget that water in the Ob basin we have not too successfully. In addition, China is increasing the withdrawal of water from the Black Irtysh river, and this water eventually lose our country. In General, historical experience suggests that trying to redirect somewhere the water is not the best idea. It is more important to keep the water where it already is, and to develop technologies that use water. And those products, which need a lot of water, China could have. You know that to produce one ton of grain you need to spend a thousand tons of water? And in the chemical industry this ratio is even more – one ton of product by 15 thousand tons of water! There is no movement, about which they say in the Ministry of agriculture, will not help.

The idea of the transfer of water to other countries is not new – it is sufficient to recall the famous Soviet project – one of the most spectacular of engineering and construction in the twentieth century – the movement (rotation) of part of Siberian rivers to Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Soviet officials wanted to send the waters of the Irtysh, the Ob, Tobol, Ishim, and other rivers of Siberia to the regions of the country most in need of fresh water. The project was developed by the Ministry of land reclamation and water economy of the USSR (Ministry of water resources). At the same time was preparing for the construction of the Grand system of canals and reservoirs that would throw the water of the rivers in the Northern part of the West Siberian plain to the Aral sea. However, on 14 August 1986 at a special meeting of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee it was decided to stop work because the project is considered by many experts was disastrous from the point of view of ecology.

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