Ministry of Natural Resources to complete studies on Baikal’s shortage of water by the end of 2015

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The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources will present the results of the study on the Baikal’s shortage of water and make a decision on the possibility of regulating the level of waste water discharges through the Irkutsk hydrosystem by the end of 2015. This information was given to journalists on Tuesday by the Head Minister Sergey Donskoy.

“Together with Rosvodresursy (Federal Water Resources Agency) and Roshydromet (Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring) we are completing studies, started last year, on the cycle evaluation, consequences and factors of what is happening in the lake. Then we’ll take new decisions on cooperation with energy workers,” he said.

Donskoy did not specify whether they expected the cancellation of the Russian Government’s Decree of 2001 that had established the minimum water level in the lake (456 meters). “I’m not going to take a long shot,” he stated, answering the TASS’s question.

The Head of the Ministry of Natural Resources also called not to jump to conclusions about the degree of the HEP Cascade’s influence on the water level in the lake.

“I wouldn’t say that the HEP Cascade influences,” he admitted. According to the Minister, such phenomena earlier were observed in the Baikal, they were connected with climatic factors.

As he explained, at the moment, the water level of the lake is 455.93 meters which is 3 cm below the critical level. This level has remained the same for 5 days already. The inflow of water into the lake is expected in late April - early May.

Ecological situation in the Baikal

Earlier, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment said that a fall in the Baikal’s water level slowed down.

“The rate of the water level fall slowed down a little. During this week I receive reports about its level – 455.98 meters,” said Donskoy.

In 2001 to preserve natural complexes of the unique lake the Russian government set the minimum and maximum water level in the lake – 456 and 457 meters. Hydroelectric engineers of the Irkutsk hydroelectric station on the Angara should maintain the water level in the lake.

Text and pictures by TASS