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Baikal lake becomes shallow, water and heat supply to neighboring city under threat

January 26, 2015, 13:14 UTC+3 NOVOSIBIRSK
The volume of water pumped in by the TEC-10 thermal power plant, which ensures heat supply to the city, might go beyond the water level in the river
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Baikal lake

Baikal lake

© ITAR-TASS/Yevgeny Yepanchintsev

NOVOSIBIRSK, January 26. /TASS/. The Baikal, which is getting shallow, and the Angara river, which flows out of the lake and runs north, have jeopardized water and heat supply to the city of Angarsk with a population of 230,000. The volume of water pumped in by the TEC-10 thermal power plant, which ensures heat supply to the city, might go beyond the water level in the river.

Scientists have established that a high volume of water discharged by the Irkutsk hydropower plant near the Baikal lake could not have been the main cause of the lake getting shallower, TASS was told by a source from the Siberian department of the Russian Academy of Sciences based in Irkutsk.

Last week a governmental commission for emergency situations established an emergency regime in the Baikal area in connection with a declining water level in the lake. For the first time over the past 60 years the water level in Baikal dropped by 40 centimeters to almost a critical level — 456.09 meters against 456 meters believed a critical point. Scientists expect the critical point might be reached in the first half of February.

Situated in south-east Siberia, the Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest freshwater reserve in the world. It contains 20% of the world's total unfrozen freshwater reserve.

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