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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Experts discuss the causes and possible effects of an emergency on the lake

In Buryatia and the Irkutsk region entered a state of emergency due to the low water level of lake Baikal. Local authorities explain this situation by the drought and later received a forecast. However, experts see other factors, noting that the situation has long been known.

The Minister of natural resources Sergei Donskoi said Wednesday that the Russian government decided to introduce a state of emergency in Buryatiya and the Irkutsk region in connection with extremely low levels of lake Baikal.

“This is exactly the situation when the seven nurses child without the eye”

“Monday was conducted by the Commission for emergency situations, a decision was made on the introduction due to the low level of the lake CHS on the lake. We will submit to the government the relevant documents, to be able to adapt to today’s regulatory documents to the conditions on the lake now exists”, – Donskoy said during his speech in the state Duma, RIA “Novosti”.

The head of the press service of the Ministry of natural resources Nikolay Gudkov in an interview with the newspaper the OPINION added that “the issue was discussed at the Commission, headed by Minister of emergency situations Vladimir Puchkov. Decided that for the period from February to April will be made a temporary change so that once was the possibility of provision of water supply to Angarsk and other settlements”.

Note that the main Department of EMERCOM of Buryatia Republic on Tuesday has been translated in the mode of increased readiness in connection with the lowering of the water level in the lake. In the coastal districts of Buryatia will be investigated households, intakes, wells and springs.

Earlier on Monday, Minister of emergency situations Vladimir Puchkov said that water shortage in the lake Baikal caused by droughty summer of 2014. “The situation we have in the Baikal basin, is complex and systemic in nature. It is necessary to plan measures to ensure the stable operation of all business objects in Irkutsk region and Buryatia Republic. A separate issue – sustainable water supply both large cities and small settlements”, – said Puchkov at the meeting of the government Commission for emergency situations, reported on the Agency’s website.

According to him, the working group will be formed which will prepare a plan for long-term integrated actions. It will be headed by state Secretary – Deputy head of the EMERCOM of Russia Vladimir Artamonov.

In addition, the Minister has set the task to double-check all intakes, wells, as well as check availability for all generating facilities and to determine the real reserves of water sources in the regions.

The concern of local authorities

Meanwhile, at a meeting with the head of Buryatia Vyacheslav Nagovitsyn the head of the Yenisei basin water management Board of Rosvodresursy Vladimir Blagov said that problems with water supply in Buryatia due to the shallowing of the lake Baikal has arisen due to the lack of long-term forecasts on the inflows into the lake, according to the website of the government of the Republic.

According to Blagova, the current situation was predicted in September, as in 2014 was awarded the “second bottom” of the minimum levels of useful inflow to the Baikal in all the observation time is 110 years. In the first half the situation was normal, but summer and autumn were dry.

“Long-term forecast we had, for the third quarter we got it at the end of June. It was just awful, to fix what was already impossible,” said Blagov.

He noted that now the Outlook on the level of the lake depends on natural conditions, in particular depending on when the lake will ice up until this moment evaporate a lot of water. Increased inflow is expected in the second half of April.

The head of Buryatia, in turn, outlined the range of problems already being faced by the residents and for assistance. “Our task is to mobilize efforts to cope with the negative situation. In some places wells have dried up, somewhere you have to wait for 15 minutes to fill the bucket. We need to help people on the shore of lake Baikal”, – said Vyacheslav nagovitcin. He also said that weekly the government of the Republic will publish information about the water level and measures taken in Buryatia.

Prior to this, Deputy Minister of natural resources of Buryatia Alexander of Foreheads noted that the decrease in the level of the lake can leave without water 27 thousand inhabitants of the Republic. “We have 51 coastal town, home to 68,3 thousand people. From them 40,9 thousand of inhabitants connected to the centralized water supply system. If Baikal will fall below a critical level, about 27 thousand people, those who are not connected to piped water, may remain without water. In addition, the situation is exacerbated by peat fires in the area of the Selenga Delta, which aktiviziruyutsya spring”, – quotes the official RIA “Novosti”.

According to Deputy Minister, today reported cases so the people left without water, no.

In the Irkutsk region last week held a meeting on the issue of the Minister of ecology and natural resources of the Irkutsk oblast Oleg Kravchuk, General Director of JSC “Irkutskenergo” Oleg Prichko, according to the website of the regional authorities.

According to Oleg, Pricko, on intakes of the city of Angarsk round-the-clock monitoring of the water level. Water intake provides water for the CHPP-10, CHPP-9 and Angarsk water utility. Shore pumps reconstructed, which allows to ensure the stable operation under the current water level. As the Director of CHPP-10 Igor Odyakov, operating load units currently allows you to cover all the needs of utilities and industrial production.

Oleg Kravchuk noted that the volume of the water pass on Irkutsk hydroelectric power station is 1,300 cubic meters per second. This volume provides a stable work of the enterprises of the Angarsk industrial hub. The government of the Irkutsk region is working with the Federal Agency of water resources, Ministry of environment, to find a way to continue the necessary volume of water pass in Irkutsk hydroelectric power station after reaching the level of lake Baikal at 456 meters. This issue should be considered at the meeting of the special governmental Commission of the Russian Federation.

The damage for years to come

Commenting on the situation, the Director of the State hydrological Institute Vladimir Georgievski noted that nothing critical has not happened yet.

“Nothing special occurred there. View the water level in the lakes: when the flow of water coming cyclical fluctuations – phase high-water and low-water periods. Each of the lakes depending on its features is its range of oscillation, which can reach 7-8 metres. Go natural cyclical fluctuations, there is a phase of wet and dry periods. Now we were in a dry period, and it is natural that the level in the lake decreases. Just all these factors need to be considered when designing” – he said the newspaper VIEW.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Commission of the Russian Public chamber on ecology and environment Sergey Chernin noticed that the warnings on the arid period in 2014, did the year before. “This is exactly the situation where seven nurses the child without an eye. To say that it all happened due to the fact that last year was a dry summer and in some months fell only 30-60% of normal, ill. Roshydromet has warned that the season will be dry, almost a year ago. And all this time nobody bothered,” he told the newspaper VIEW.

“Now we know that last spring from the lake were lowered excessive amounts of water through the Irkutsk power plant, water from the lake flooded peatlands. But at the same time does not taken into account the prospects of the lake, no one sounded the alarm, had not reported the threat. In the end, we were confronted with the fact: actually reached minimum allowed by law, the water level in the lake. It is necessary to understand why existing laws and the monitoring system did not warn the occurrence of such a situation”, – said the activist.

According to him, in the OP Russia is currently studying the situation on Baikal, to assess the real extent of the damage and to understand what can be done to fix it. According to preliminary calculations, said Chernin, the total damage caused by the shallowing of the lake Baikal will be about 24 billion rubles, will take many years to restore the lake ecosystem.

Director of the Baikal Institute of nature management, Siberian branch of RAS, doctor of geographical Sciences Yeongdong Garmaev noted that for the first time in 60 years on the lake, the water level fell almost to a critical point – during the year it decreased by 40 centimeters.

The fall of the water level in the lake scientist connects with the activities of energy companies and extremely low-water period in 2014. He believes that to avoid lowering the level of the lake will not succeed.

“In the winter water inflow in the lake, inflows will start only with the melting snow in the catchment. It will not happen before mid-April, when average daily air temperature of the backup layer will go zero threshold”, – said the scientist.

In March last year, the Russian government issued a decree on the establishment of the national Park “Chikoy” – unique mountain taiga area in the buffer zone of the Baikal natural territory. The Ministry of natural resources and industrial policy in Zabaykalsky Krai stated that the work on creation of the Directorate of the Park continues. Earlier it was reported that the institution is to be finalised by the end of 2015. The state created the national Park will be about 100 people.

Baikal – the deepest and cleanest lake on the planet, containing a quarter of the world’s fresh water. The full size of the lake, 23 thousand cubic kilometres of water. Baikal and coastal areas feature a unique variety of flora and fauna, most species of animals are endemic (found only in this territory).

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