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Estimation Of The Impact Of Climatic And Anthropogenic Factors On The Formation Of The Extreme Low-Flow Period In The Don River Basin During 2007-2016

https://doi.org/10.24057/2071-9388-2017-28

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Abstract

The Don River is the largest river in the southwestern  part of European Russia and the second largest  river system  in European  Russia. The Don River  basin is one of the most water deficient regions in Russia and the long term average water usage in the basin amounts to 45%. The period 2007-2016 was the longest long-term low-flow period observed, with an estimated total water resources deficit of 40.4 km3  over 8 years. The main reason for this deficit were anomalously  warm  winters (2-4 degrees  over average) with a low degree of soil frost penetration. This resulted in low spring flood volume  (37% of the average) due to heavy seepage losses combined  with thin snow cover.  A similar low-flow situation was observed in 2014, when the drought caused great damage to ecosystem of Tsimlianskoye water reservoir and the River Don. Most of the fish breeding  grounds  had dried up by May 2014. This caused the number of round fish whitebait to drop 5-10 times below the 2002-2014 average.  Inland shipping  and hydropower  industry also sustained losses of 42 million euro (according to interview from State Shipping company) due to low water level. This study shows that the main reasons for the 2007-2016 extreme hydrological drought are exceptional hydro-climatic conditions and anthropogenic  transformations in the watershed,  such as urbanisation growth  and afforestation.  The analysis  shows that the main cause in water deficit is associated with the left tributaries  of Don – Khoper and Medveditsa, while the flow in Upper Don remained more or less normal. The results can be interpreted as a “warning sign” to reduce water consumption in these sub-basins to avoid similar drought situations in future.

About the Authors

Maria B. Kireeva
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Faculty of Geography.

Moscow.



Vladislav P. Ilich
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Faculty of Geography.

Moscow.



Natalia L. Frolova
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Faculty of Geography.

Moscow.



Maksim A. Kharlamov
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Faculty of Geography.

Moscow.



Aleksey A. Sazonov
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Faculty of Geography.

Moscow.



Polina G. Mikhaylyukova
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Faculty of Geography.

Moscow.



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For citation:


Kireeva M.B., Ilich V.P., Frolova N.L., Kharlamov M.A., Sazonov A.A., Mikhaylyukova P.G. Estimation Of The Impact Of Climatic And Anthropogenic Factors On The Formation Of The Extreme Low-Flow Period In The Don River Basin During 2007-2016. GEOGRAPHY, ENVIRONMENT, SUSTAINABILITY. 2019;12(2):62-77. https://doi.org/10.24057/2071-9388-2017-28

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