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Potential Hydrological Restrictions on Water Use in the Basins of Rivers Flowing into Russian Arctic Seas

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Water consumption has been evaluated for the basins of the rivers flowing into the Arctic seas of the Russian Federation and, separately, for the Arctic zone of Russia (AZR). Long-term dynamics of the major characteristics of water consumption are given for the period from the 1980s to 2017 along with data on its structure. The possible effect of the total water withdrawal and consumptive water use on river water inflow into the Arctic seas has been evaluated for the 1980s (a period of maximal anthropogenic load), for 2006–2017 and up to 2030. The volumes of water consumption in limits of AZR are relatively low. Moreover, the water withdrawal has dropped considerably compared with the situation in the 1980s, in particular, by about 30% in the Pechora, Lena river basins, and from the rivers of Murmansk oblast, and by 50% in the Northern Dvina, Yenisei, and Kolyma river basins. It has increased in the Nenets and Yamalo-Nenets AO because of the intense development of the local oil-and-gas complex. Nowadays, according to the authors’ estimates, 21.28 km3/year is being withdrawn in the drainage basins of RF Arctic seas and 2.58 km3/year, within the AZR, or 28.8 and 3.5% of the total volume in Russia. The largest contribution to this value is due to the water-management complexes in the basins of the Ob (14.7 km3/year), Yenisei (2.77), Northern Dvina (0.64), and Murmansk oblast (1.72 km3/year). The volumes of water discharges back into water bodies at the drainage basins of Russian Arctic seas are comparable with the volumes of freshwater withdrawal -71% of water intake. Even lesser is the difference within AZR. The major water users are the industry (with a high proportion of mining plants), thermal power engineering, and municipal economy. But considerable and diverse hydrological restrictions exist at the municipal level and for some water users in AZR. These local hydrological restrictions have been formulated and analyzed in detail, for the first time. They form three large groups. Original maps are given to illustrate the specific features and regularities in the present-day distribution of water-management characteristics over AZR.

About the Authors

Dmitriy V. Magritsky
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Faculty of Geography

Leninskie Gory 1, 119991, Moscow

Natalia L. Frolova
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation
Faculty of Geography

Leninskie Gory 1, 119991, Moscow

Olga M. Pakhomova
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation
Faculty of Geography

Leninskie Gory 1, 119991, Moscow


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For citation:

Magritsky D.V., Frolova N.L., Pakhomova O.M. Potential Hydrological Restrictions on Water Use in the Basins of Rivers Flowing into Russian Arctic Seas. GEOGRAPHY, ENVIRONMENT, SUSTAINABILITY. 2020;13(2):25-34.

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ISSN 2071-9388 (Print)
ISSN 2542-1565 (Online)