Level Regime of Lake Baikal: Problems and Contradictions
Авторы: Nikitin V.M., Abasov N.V., Bychkov I.V., Osipchuk E.N.
Журнал: Geography and Natural Resources
Отчётный год: 2020
Аннотация: We examine the current problems of Lake Baikal level regulation. A comparative analysis is made of the changes in the lake level, the range of its fluctuations and in the intra-annual amplitude for the 120-year-long period of observations in natural and regulated conditions. The period 2014–2017 with an extremely low water level is analyzed. It is pointed out that the inconsistency between existing legislation and the water resource management system within the Baikal and Angara drainage basins has also contributed to the decline in sustainability of the water economy, along with the climatic factors. It was found that while generally quite well complying with the requirements of water users and water consumers in conditions of normal and almost normal water availability, it cannot meet the regulatory needs and restrictions in periods of extreme water availability. The risks and contradictions in the regulation of the Lake Baikal water level in low- and high-water years are considered. Quantitative assessments are made of the possible maximum levels in Lake Baikal during floods for different restrictions of water flow in the downstream water. The estimates of expected areas of flooding are given. It is pointed out that along with water management and socio-economic risks, climatic and environmental factors should also be taken into account in the lake level regulation. An analysis is made of the environmental requirements which were taken into account when setting the limited meter range of Lake Baikal level regulation (Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of 3.26.2001 No. 234). There is an inconsistency in these requirements and, in some cases, the impossibility of meeting them. Quantitative assessments are made of the implications of the re-enforcement of Decree No. 234 on January 1, 2021. It is shown that the enforcement of this decree in full necessarily involves violating the requirements of water users. The years of elevated water levels are necessarily accompanied by flooding of the city of Irkutsk. It is suggested that the “social” option of regulating the level of Lake Baikal water level regulation be used in order to avoid infringement of existing legislation and flooding by the downstream water. Special research work should be done to determine a reasonable range of Lake Baikal water level regulation having regard to the current environmental and socio-economic factors.
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