The China Times

Russian scientists: China robs Siberian rivers

June 9, 2012

File photo: Chinese patrol boat on Sino-Russian border river.

As a result of a systematic overuse of water resources from rivers originating in the north of China, the Irtysh River (额尔齐斯河) may become non-navigational, and turn into the swamp of Omsk. This not only threatens to leave Omsk without drinking water, but also sharply reduce the ability of many hydroelectric power stations, while adverse climatic processes will reduce 10-20% of the runoff in southern Siberia by 2015. Said Russian experts in their latest report.

Such conclusions are calculated by the hydrological model of the Irtysh River, which was created under the project “Transboundary Water Management of the Irtysh River” by Russian scientists together with scientists from France and Kazakhstan.

According to experts, the impact of China’s expansion to the south of Siberia is much more significant, they affect not only the Irtysh and Amur.

The possibility of the Russian authorities to influence the situation is limited, since China has not acceded to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes and the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, which define international rules for the use of transboundary water resources.

“But we must bear in mind that the Irtysh is only one river. There are big problems we have at the major tributaries of the Amur – the Argun and the Songhua River,” – said Michael Bolgov, acting Deputy Director of the Institute for Water and Environmental Problems.

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