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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Predictions about the death of Baikal, have been somewhat exaggerated

In the morning many aroused by the publication of the fact that lake Baikal in the future waiting for the fate of the Aral sea – that is a complete shallowing. It was reported that this will lead Mongolia plans to build in the neighborhood of several large HPPs. By mid-day of passion subsided. Risks to lake Baikal really discussed, but catastrophic shallowing of the lake is not threatened.

Representatives of Russia and Mongolia on Tuesday at the talks in Ulan Bator discussed the risks from the construction of hydroelectric power plants on flowing into Baikal, the river Selenga and its tributaries, said the official representative of the Ministry of natural resources Nikolay Gudkov.

“Yes, increases the surface area, goes the extra evaporation, but the volume of water resources so seriously HPP will not be affected

“Today in Ulan Bator are the Mongolian-Russian consultations, which involved the Deputy head of Rosprirodnadzor Amirkhan Amirkhanov,” quotes his words RIA “Novosti”. Your question was really discussed, however, was not the only one.

Gudkov added that the construction of Mongolian hydropower was also discussed at the meeting of the intergovernmental Commission in December last year. And then the Mongolian side reaffirmed that the funding of the relevant project until frozen.

On Tuesday “news” reported that lake Baikal is threatened by environmental disaster and, if no measures are taken, may disappear, as at the time of the Aral sea.

As told the newspaper LOOK the head of the Russian Union of Hydrogeologists Yuri Bogomolov, the members of his organization are experts of the state Duma Subcommittee on water resources. “Such information to us did not arrive, – he said. – If it goes, then we’ll discuss it and within a few days will give her professional assessment”.

Another hydrogeologist – Seraphim Golubev noted that this issue was discussed at the time within the Ministry of natural resources.” But about the catastrophic forecasts for the shallowing of lake Baikal, he also has not heard.

The i tried to place the Director of the State hydrological Institute Vladimir Georgievskiy. A publication about the possibility of a complete shallowing of the lake Baikal after the Aral sea, he called “absolute nonsense, garbage and fiction”.

“These are incomparable things, – St. George told the newspaper VIEW. – Hydroelectric plants if they are built, do to a certain extent, affect the redistribution of water flows. But not so! In our country hundreds of large hydroelectric power stations. You see something let loose? Yes, increased area of water surface, is further evaporation, but the volume of water resources so seriously HPP will not be affected.

But it is not so simple. As it turned out, with the issue coexists another, more serious. “Another question, if the Mongols are going to massively divert this water into its territory to solve their own economic issues. We have no such information. But assuming that they will dig my reservoirs formed from large number of channels on your dry areas, this can be a problem,” – said the expert.

Further forecasts St. George abstained, noting that you need to know the numbers: how much water Mongolia wants to take. But they are not.

We add that even if the dire predictions come true, Baykal will not dry up completely. “No, the level can fall, a foot, a meter, a few meters, but talking about it is completely dry – this is nonsense”, – assured the expert.

As previously reported, the Ministry of natural resources, Russia has achieved the freeze of funding by the world Bank Mongolia construction of hydropower plant on a tributary of the lake Baikal, the river Selenga (provides up to 80% of water inflow into the lake) and its tributaries. We are talking about the hydroelectric projects in Mongolia – GES of Suren” on the Selenga river and HPP on Orkhon river, a major tributary of the Selenga. In 2013, there was a third project – hydroelectric power station on the river Egiyn-Gol.

According to the Director of the Department of state policy and regulation in the field of water resources Ministry of natural resources Dmitry Kirillov, the construction of Mongolia hydro power plants there will result in changes to runoff into the lake and disruption of the Irkutsk hydroelectric station on lake resulting from the Angara river.

Earlier, the Minister of natural resources Sergey Donskoy has said several times that there are considerable environmental risks of the construction project of hydroelectric power station on the Selenga.

Following the meeting of Russian experts with Mongolia in Ulan Bator in March 2015 and have reached agreement on bringing Russian experts to consider assessment of the impact of projects on the environment.

Meanwhile, according to Deputy Minister of natural resources of Buryatia Alexander Foreheads, to assess the damage to lake Baikal due to the construction of hydropower plants in Mongolia is now difficult. “This issue has long been discussed, more than two years. This deals with the Ministry of nature of Russia. Our position is the construction of hydropower plants will lead to negative changes in the ecosystem of lake Baikal. Currently, on this subject, there is no calculation, we are unable to calculate, since there is no project documentation of the Mongolian side,” admitted the official.

“Izvestiya” noted that Baikal is waiting for “irreversible consequences” and Russia will have to offer Mongolia something in return that she did not commit this error. And despite the fact that, according to the publication, the project of new HPPs have already found a sponsor in the face of the Chinese Bank, which is only on infrastructure has allocated $ 827 million.

Have already completed two rounds of negotiations and expert consultations. Following the discussion, the Ministry of natural resources, it was decided to conduct a “comprehensive environmental, social and economic assessment of the implementation of energy and water resources projects in Mongolia and their impact on the Selenga river and lake Baikal.

The energy Ministry ideas already expressed by the representatives of the Russian energy companies. According to “Izvestia”, at this meeting several suggestions were made, which are now discussed.

Baikal is the deepest lake on the planet and the largest natural reservoir of fresh water. The maximum depth of the lake is 1642 meters. In 1996, the pond was included in the UNESCO world natural heritage site by UNESCO.

The Aral sea, which is now compared to the Baikal, began to dry up in the 60-ies of the last century because of massive extraction of water from the Amu Darya and Syr Darya for irrigation. In 1989’s sea of split into two pond – Northern (Small) and southern (Big) Aral sea. A few years ago, the Eastern part of the southern (Large) Aral sea dried up completely.

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