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Water level in Lake Baikal keeps falling

January 12, 14:11 UTC+3 IRKUTSK
The level stands at 456 meters above the Pacific Ocean, four 4 centimeters short of the safe minimum
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© Edgar Bryukhanenko/ITAR-TASS

IRKUTSK, January 12. /TASS/. The level of water in the world’s largest fresh water reservoir in Eastern Siberia keeps falling. As of today it stands at 456 meters above the Pacific Ocean, four 4 centimeters short of the safe minimum, as follows from data published on the website of the Federal Water Resources Agency (Rosvodresurs).

Baikal went below the lowest permissible mark late last December. Under an effective government resolution as soon as the level of water falls that low, the Irkutsk Hydro located downstream is not allowed to use the 1,300 cubic meters of water per second required for the stable operation of water intakes.

For the first time fast decline in the level of water in Lake Baikal was registered in the autumn of 2014. Experts say that the lake has entered into another period of natural shallowness, already observed in the past. It may last up to a quarter of a century. Since 1962 Baikal has fallen below the 456-meter mark eleven times. An all-time record low of 455.27 meters was registered in 1982.

The head of the Baikal Institute of Natural Resources Management at the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yendon Garmayev, earlier told TASS that as the level of water in the lake falls, the perimeter border of the lake shrinks and warm shallow lagoons that are home to many amphibia and rare mammals disappear. The delta of the Selenga River - a vast spawning place is most seriously affected.

The head of the Baikal branch of the federal State Research Fishing Industry Institute, Vladimir Peterfeld, has told TASS that if the level of water in Baikal falls further, commercial fishing in the lake may be suspended.

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