Rustam Minnikhanov: ‘In the last years, the situation with the low water level has repeated’
The Tatarstan president and Russian environment minister discussed the implementation of Ecology national project in the republic, which became the main topic at a meeting of the Basin Council of the Lower Volga River Basin District
Tatarstan will get rid of environmental time bombs. By late 2024, large sites of accumulated harm must be eliminated: silt fields in Kazan are remediated where 4 million cubic metres of silt have been accumulated, inactive pipelines around Ozyorny oil field (RITEK) are disassembled. The total cost of projects is over 9 billion rubles, reported Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Tatarstan Alexander Shadrikov at an away meeting of the Basin Council of the Lower Volga River Basin District. Earlier, the Tatarstan president and Russian Minister of Nature Alexander Kozlov discussed the implementation of the national project Ecology in the republic. Now the Tatarsan authorities are discussing the addition the remediation project of the Kama River and the cleanup of the Noksa River in Kazan to federal programmes. The well-being of 1,5 Kazan citizens depend on the latter river. But the rise in the level of the Nizhnekamsk Water Reservoir to the installed bar of 64 metres is the most concerning issue.
Moscow back to the discussion of raising the level of the Nizhnekamsk Hydro Power Plant
“Today we have talked with the minister and his team working in Tatarstan today well,” the Tatarstan president welcomed his colleagues at an away meeting of the Basin Council of the Lower Volga River Basin District in the House of Government. Several hours earlier, Rustam Minnikhanov had managed to hold a business meeting with the federal minister who arrived in Kazan.
“We discussed many different projects with him, but the water issue is one of the priorities,” the president of the republic briefly talked about the results without going into details of the talks.
A bit later he revealed the details of the talk, for instance, the necessity of raising the level of the Nizhnekamsk Water Reservoir was again on the federal agenda.
“This issue is being discussed because the situation with a low water level has repeated in the last years. With the decreasing level of the Caspian Sea, it is impossible to provide a high water level all year round in the Volga estuary. The regulation of the level of the dam alone doesn’t permit solving the problem, more serious decisions are needed, the minister told me about and asked to join this work,” Minnikhanov said.
“Raising the level of the Nizhnekamsk Hydro Power Plant to 64 metres will allow getting a million cubic metres of water. This initiative was fully supported by the regions, but the final decision can be made after possible socio-economic risks for Udmurtia, Bashkiria and Perm Krai are comprehensively assessed,” Tatarstan Minister of Environment Alexander Shadrikov explained.
Federal agencies actively support Tatarstan’s stance. “The Russian Transport Ministry supported the initiative. It thinks that the higher level will push the development of river traffic inside the country. Also, it is planned to develop a new international corridor North — South, which will connect Russia with Southeast Asian countries,” he added. Survey and design works need to change for the new height, while the Russian Agency for Water Resources can be the client.
Big sources of “negativism” to be eliminated by 2024
The president of the republic reminded them that Tatarstan was one of the water abundant regions in the Volga Federal District with about 6,4% of water bodies, or 36,000, and this “wealth needs to be saved and conserved.” According to him, the republic actively remediates and restores water bodies.
“Silt fields are remediated in the Ecology national project, what Minister Alexander Kozlov saw today.” According to him, this half-a-century-old problem was solved thanks to federal money, the works are going according to schedule.
In the last three years, Tatarstan has received 19 billion rubles in the Ecology national project, of which 3 billion come from the republican budget. Over this time, 13 treatment facilities have been built in different districts of the republic. Another 12 are in line.
By late 2024, two large accumulated environmental harm sites are scheduled to be eliminated, said Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Alexander Shadrikov. Silt fields located in the protected zone of the Kuybyshev Water Reservoir are remediated. About 4 million cubic metres of silt has been accumulated on an area of 100 ha in half a century. Inactive pipelines of Ozyorny oil field are another big site. They turned out to be drowned several years ago when raising the level of the Nizhnekamsk Water Reservoir and pose a threat to the citizens. The costs are equal to 930 million rubles. 230 million of the sum is provided by RITEK. As Shadrikov said, the Russian environment minister confirmed the co-financing from the federal budget.
90 drowned ships were detected in the water reservoir. According to the claims of the environment prosecutor’s office, the court decided the Russian Federal Agency of Maritime and River Transport to raise 75 ships. The Russian Ministry of Nature supported them. Now documentation is being prepared, Tatarstan will be a pilot region, Shadrikov reminded them. Tatarstan’s initiative on the Kama River remediation was approved. According to the minister of environment of the republic, it will be included to the united federal remediation programme for the country’s rivers.