‘We ask you to observe the rules for the use of water resources’: Minister of Ecology of Tatarstan — about the shallowing of the Volga River
“What will we be left with?": Alexander Shadrikov sounds the alarm in the State Duma
Tatarstan proposes to approach the use of water resources at the Kuibyshev reservoir hydroelectric facilities “with maximum economy”. This was stated by the minister of ecology and natural resources of the republic, Alexander Shadrikov, at a meeting of the State Duma Committee on Ecology, Natural Resources, and Environmental Protection on the topic “Ways to solve the problem of low water in the Volga River basin, as well as compliance with legislation in water protection zones”.
“I would like to note separately that our appeal was born based on the appeals of citizens. Including that they are our voters, dear deputies of the State Duma! We, as the executive power, are also responsible for what is happening in the environmental sphere today," he said, talking about a letter from five heads of the Volga regions of Russia about the strong shallowing of the Volga Cascade.
Alexander Shadrikov drew the attention of the audience to the social tension created around this painful topic. The problem covers about 10 million residents of five regions of Russia located on the banks of the Kuibyshev reservoir, and 52% of the area of this largest reservoir in Eurasia falls on Tatarstan. Therefore, the minister pointed out the public concern among the residents of the republic separately.
“With maximum economy, we must activate all waterworks, because we have to fill the Kuibyshev reservoir by the next spring flood. According to our forecasts, we are one and a half meters short. Accordingly, what will we be left with and what social tension will there be next year?" Alexander Shadrikov asked a question.
“We ask you to strictly observe the rules for the use of water resources!”
The minister cited a sad figure: the result of what was happening was the death of 70% of fish eggs in the Kuibyshev reservoir — it dried up after spawning due to water withdrawal. This greatly affects the reproduction of biological resources in the basin of the reservoir and the entire Volga cascade.
“We ask you to strictly observe the rules for the use of water resources, which were adopted a long time ago, which we have talked about more than once. The smartest people created the Volga-Kama Cascade, and, accordingly, the smartest scientists adopted these rules for the use of water resources!” the head of the Ministry of Ecology of Tatarstan reminded.
Let us remind that the State Duma discussed the shallowing of the Volga at the plenary session on November 1. Its chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said that the problem requires the intervention of the General and Environmental Prosecutor's Office.
“The Volga is the most regulated river. And here the question is management decision-making. And the fact that the Volga has become shallow here, the answer should be clear: why was it allowed? Even when the summer was hotter, there was even less rain, the level did not fall so low. Therefore, the arguments that “it's a hot summer, there's no rain, that's why the Volga is shallow” do not work. After all, this is a low level of decision-making in the agency that you head, because RusHydro carried out all these installations, which led tobthat we have this problem with you today and everyone is ringing the alarm bells," Vyacheslav Volodin said, addressing the head of Rosvodresurs.
At the end of October, the leaders of five Volga regions, including Tatarstan, appealed to President of Russia Vladimir Putin because of the situation with the shallowing of the Volga. They proposed to build low-pressure hydraulic structures to stabilise the level of the Kuibyshev reservoir.
“We, with the heads of Tatarstan, Mari El, Chuvashia, Samara region, wrote an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a request to solve this problem and organise the construction of low-pressure structures in the lower Volga riverbed to stabilise the river level in our Kuibyshev reservoir," said the governor of the Ulyanovsk region, Alexey Russkikh.
The rais of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, stated that social tension remains in the republic caused by the shallowing of the Kuibyshev reservoir. He clarified that due to the low water level, the approaches of ships to several settlements have already been cancelled. Besides, there is a risk for fulfilling the tasks of the Great Volga Way project, which involves six Russian regions: Tatarstan, Mari El, Chuvashia, Samara, Ulyanovsk and Saratov regions.