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In defense of Baikal

The deepest freshwater lake in the world Baikal, in the apt expression of the late academician A. V. winter, – “the priceless gift of nature”.

The lake-sea is a colossal repository of hydropower, a rich Treasury of flora and fauna. There are more than 1500 diverse species of flora and fauna, of which three-quarters are endemic, i.e. found only in lake Baikal and nowhere else in the world. This is a kind of natural Museum, a living laboratory of nature. Not a casual interest in the Baikal Soviet and world science.

Fishing on lake Baikal annually gives the country hundreds of thousands of quintals of fish. whitefish, grayling and other fish species. In the Northern part of the lake successfully extracted the Baikal seal – Nerpa.

Sung in many songs and legends, lake Baikal, the roads, the Soviet people, as a personification of the harsh and majestic nature of Siberia as a source of inspiration for many Russian and Buryat poets, a place of mass tourism and recreation. With the development of industry, the growth in the population the role and importance of lake Baikal as the rarest natural phenomena is only increasing. It will have numerous resorts, sanatoriums and rest homes. It is no exaggeration to say that the Baikal belongs not only to us but to our descendants, the people of the era of communism.

That’s why all of us, signatories to this letter, a serious concern is the attempts by some employees of design organizations under the banner of economic benefit to violate the natural harmony of lake Baikal.

Chief engineer of the Angara sector of the Moscow branch of the Institute “Hydroenergoproject” H.And. Grigorovich spoke at the conference on the development of productive forces of Eastern Siberia with the report: “Improving hydropower characteristics Angara river by building the slits at the source”.

N. And. Grigorovich proposes to lay in the beginning of Angara river and blow up a lump sum of 30 thousand tonnes of Ammonite. This resulted in a spectacular explosion, according to the author of the project, formed a cleft depth of 25 meters, which will flood into the Hangar of 120 cubic kilometers of water from ancient reserves of lake Baikal.

In one N.And. Grigorovich is right. At the present level of technology can produce a similar explosion. Even the explosion of a larger scale.

But what will be its consequences?

The author of the project relies, firstly, to obtain due to the additional discharge of 120 cubic kilometres of the Baikal water increased electricity production at Irkutsk to mass hydro by 32 billion kilowatt-hours. Secondly, maneuvering the water reserves of lake Baikal to perform multi-year regulation of the energy output of all hydro power plants in Central and Eastern Siberia.

Arithmetic calculations these findings are fully verified.

But a closer examination found the internal contradictions of the project N. And. Grigorovich.

First, after will be merged 120 cubic miles (N. And. Grigorovich expects to do so for 4 years), stop and regulating effect of lake Baikal, because handling will be already nothing. Secondly, the project will in the future fill the “busy” Baikal water and restore its level (it will take, according to N. And. Grigorovich, 18 to 20 years). But by that time the Hangar will work no 2 hydropower station, and much more, and, therefore, “occupying” Baikal 32 billion kilowatt-hours, “to give,” you have several times more. In addition, restoration of the level of lake Baikal, the first step of a cascade of hydro power station will reduce power generation.

Thus, even from the point of view of hydropower project N. And. Grigorovich is not tenable.

Now consider the wider question.

By reducing the level of lake Baikal bare coastal strip in the area of 100-120 thousand hectares, which is the main area of life for all the flora and fauna of lake Baikal. Disappear spawning grounds, which will lead to a catastrophic reduction of fish stocks of the lake. The office has estimated food processing industry of the Buryat Council of national economy, the damage to only the fishing industry Buryatia, will be expressed in the sum over 2 billion rubles.

In many places, the coastline retreated a kilometer or more. Settlements will be deprived of water sources. With the cessation of fishing will be violated the way of life of tens of thousands of people.

With the lowering of the lake level drop and groundwater level, and then vast expanses of meadows and pastures on the Eastern coast of lake Baikal will turn into the semidesert zone.

The Baikal’s decreasing level will lead to re-formation of coastal shallows and will create conditions for intense erosion. There will be a real threat of destruction of the canvas and bridges Circular-Baikal railway. and required its transfer to the foothill slopes of the Khamar-Daban range, which will cause costs billions.

No one, including the author of the project N. And. Grigorovich, can not guarantee that after the explosion and the resulting geological offsets of Baikal water will not come out of obedience of man and does not fall catastrophically in the valley of the Angara river. Finally, even leaving aside the issues of the economy, we deem unacceptable, regardless of any action against a unique gift of nature – lake Baikal.

At the closing session of the conference on the development of productive forces of Eastern Siberia was requested to declare the Baikal reserve .

We hope that the public will support this wish and would strongly advocate the protection of lake Baikal.