Water Wars

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by HectortheInspector, Oct 21, 2009.

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  1. Speaking of the Cahora Bassa, how's everyone's fave crazy late colonial project getting on these days?
  2. So so. The drought didn't do it much good, but it is not quite so decrepit as Kariba.
    (Article as of December 2016)
    Falling Water Levels Hurt Sub-Sahara’s Biggest Hydro Plant
  3. Article on the Georgian states' hydro power programme. For some reason, they don't want to be reliant on Russian imports. Odd that. Usual issues of dodgy land transfers, Far Eastern (Korean) finance and discrimination against local tribes.

    Caucasus "land grab" feared in remote UNESCO heritage site
  4. With respect to the bold above, when the Soviet Union existed electric power was transferred across republic borders without impediment. The result was an integrated network with electric power coming from the cheapest sources and going to wherever there was demand.

    After the collapse of the Soviet Union, republics which export electric power now want full market rates and importers are looking to see how to replace those imports with domestic supplies. This is especially important for ones which are now paying in hard currency.

    This one is intended to replace thermal power plants using imported fuel in winter, and allow the export of electricity in the summer. It's rated at 280MW, so it's a mid-sized plant at best. So far, so good.

    However, there are allegations that the geologic risks are being overlooked. The area is prone to mud and rock slides, and the potential risks of this are allegedly being swept under the table by the Georgians at this time. If the problems are real, you may wish to add this to your list of dodgy dams in third world countries.
  5. Probably also to note that Georgia has a history of earthquakes, including a 1991 event of 7 on the Richter Scale.
    Dodgy dams, landslides, earthquakes, what's not to like?
  6. Chinese planning to 'borrow' water from Lake Baikal in Russia, and pipeline it across Mongolia to China.
    Unsure if they have actually told the Russians before hand...
    Or all the downstream 'Stans who use the lake water for hydro power and irrigation.
    'Parched' Chinese city plans to pump water from Russian lake via 1,000km pipeline

    China is reportedly considering plans to build a 1,000km (620 mile) pipeline to pump water all the way from Siberia to its drought-stricken northwest.

    According to reports in the Chinese media, urban planners in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province, have drawn up proposals to pipe water into the chronically parched region from Russia’s Lake Baikal, the deepest freshwater lake on earth.

    Li Luoli, an academic who is one of the plan’s cheerleaders, claimed the mega-project - roughly the equivalent of pumping water from Lake Como to London - was both theoretically feasible and “certainly beneficial” to China.

    “Once the technical issues are resolved, diplomats should sit down and talk to each other about how each party would benefit from such international cooperation,” said Li, the vice president of the China Society of Economic Reform, a state-run think tank.
    • Informative Informative x 2
  7. I thought that lake Baikal was drying up gradually?

    If water is being 'borrowed' , how do they propose to give it back, esp allowing for evaporation ?
  8. It is already under pressure.
    ' borrowed' in the sense of 'not intending to give back'.
    Call it a 'Crimean loan'.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. There's no "Stans" downstream from Lake Baikal. The lake empties into the Angara River, which in turn feeds into the Yenisei, which flows north into the Arctic Ocean. The rivers are used for hydroelectric power, but I'm not aware of any irrigation being done. There is some agriculture downstream, but it appears to be rain fed and mostly the rivers flow through huge forests.

    The story doesn't show any sign of "China" planning to do this. As the text you quoted says, this is a proposal from some urban planners in a city in China. There's no sign of this going any further than that.

    Various groups in the US make similar proposals to build massive civil engineering works to take water from Canada and transport it by canal to the southern parts of the US for irrigation and municipal water supply (see NAWAPA for one example). The chances of Canada accepting anything like that are zero, and I imagine the Russians would react in a similar manner.

    Lake Baikal is regarded in Russia as one of their environmental treasures. However, as the climate warms, the area around it is expected to become drier and more like Mongolia to the south. This will reduce water flow. The real action in the area will revolve around what the Russians do to mitigate this. They may try to use the dam on the Angara just downstream from the lake to try to regulate the water level and the outlet flow decreases.

    A more plausible answer for the city's water supply problems is to simply use less water for irrigation locally and use it for municipal supply. Municipal consumption is normally very small compared to agricultural, so it we aren't talking about a large proportion of the total local supply.

    Of course that may require doing something about water pollution in China, but that's worth doing anyway.
  10. They've been talking about water from lake Baikal to China for a number of years:
    Ambitious plan to divert Siberian water to China gets showered in criticism
    According to TASS and RT Baikal water levels have been dropping, reaching what they call a dangerous low in 2014 and 2015:
    China wants water from Russia's Lake Baikal to irrigate drought-hit regions
    World's deepest lake Baikal shrinking
    Also a project to sell bottled water in 2015:
    Two new plants to bottle Baikal's 'pure' water for foreign export
  11. Borrow water? Will it be yellow when it's handed back?

    I think that's my taxi waiting.
  12. Gansu doesn't lead on any cross-border issues. If it's coming out of Lanzhou directly, it's not state policy.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. I think you might be thinking of the Aral Sea which is now only about 10% of its original size.

    Most (all?) of the decline has been due to the USSR diverting the two rivers that fed the sea, the Amu Darya in the south and the Syr Darya in the east, in an attempt to grow rice, melons, cereals, and cotton - Aral Sea - Wikipedia
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  14. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the Central Asian republics had to stand on their own feet instead of being subsidised by Russia. They tried to ramp up cotton production for export while cutting back on maintenance of the infrastructure. The result was much of the water was wasted, accelerating the decline of the Aral Sea.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. Baikal is too deep to dry up in the way the Aral has but it is suffering from dropping levels. Pretty sure @HectortheInspector has posted about it upthread.
    • Informative Informative x 1