Kazakhstan suggests refilling Ural river from Volga waters 12 июля 2013, 18:00
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The Ural River. Tengrinews.kz file photo
Kazakhstan Environmental Protection Ministry has suggest to divert water from the Volga river to replenish the Ural river, Tengrinews.kz reports.
“The current situation with the Ural river requires urgent measures. We all remember how the water was engineered at the river. When water reservoirs in Russia and Kazakhstan were planned (during soviet times), their negative effect on the river’s stock was considered. That’s why its was planned to transfer part of the stock of the Volga river to the Ural river to compensate losses of the latter. I suggest going back to considering this issue,” Kazakhstan Vice-Minister of Environmental Protection Yerlan Nyssanbayev said at the round-table meeting on the problems of the basin of the transborder Ural River and their possible solutions.
78 percent of the water resources of the Ural river are formed at the territory of Russia, that’s why the condition of the ecosystem of its Kazakhstan part located in the lower part of the river flow fully depends on the volumes of water entering from the neighboring country, he added. According to Nyssanbayev, the Ural river’s water stock is shrinking every year and this causes negative consequences. Over the last several years the river’s stock lowered to 5 cubic km per year, which is the point after which irreversible ecological changes with catastrophic consequences will start.
“As for Kazakhstan’s action on the Ural problem, they should be focused on several things: we should increase funding of all the nature-protection actions in the Ural-Caspian basin. This would enable us to perform works every year to clean and restore all spawning areas, especially the ones of sturgeons. We will have to restore the water-collecting part of the river by running a package of measures such as expansion of forest areas at these territories and creating protected natural territories. At the same time we have to take measures to eliminate the river pollution sources to improve the water quality. We also need to take steps to reinforce the river banks,” the Vice-Minister said.
The Ural river flows through the territory of Russia and Kazakhstan. It starts in the southern Ural Mountains and flows to the Caspian Sea. Its total length is 2,428km. The Ural river is the third longest river in Europe after the Volga (that also flows into the Caspian Sea) and the Danube. Along with the Volga, the Ural is one of the major rivers feeding the Caspian Sea.
The river is mostly fed by melting snow. Water from the upper reaches of the Ural River is used to supply the prominent Magnitogorsk and Orsk-Khalilovsk metallurgical plants in Russia, and the low reaches are used for irrigation in Kazakhstan. Two reservoirs were created near Magnitogorsk in Russia, and there is a hydroelectric plant near the village of Iriklinskaya with the corresponding reservoir also in Russia. Below Uralsk in Kazakhstan, there is another reservoir and the Kushumsky channel. Agriculture, especially growth of melons and watermelons, is widespread in the area in Kazakhstan.
By Baubek Konyrov