Comment of OJSC Irkutskenergo on the statement of the press service of V. Nagovitsyn, Head of the Republic of Buryatia
The press service of V. Nagovitsyn has issued a statement unfairly blaming Irkutskenergo for low water levels in Lake Baikal. We therefore think it necessary to make the following statement:
The volume of water flow through the dams of Russian power plants is strictly regulated by rules and regulations of the Government of the Russian Federation, the most important document in this area being the Rules for the Use of Water Resources. Decisions on the amount of water flow are not made by energy companies but by the Federal Water Resources Agency (FWRA) based on the interests of all groups using water resources: households, housing and utility companies, water transport, fisheries, the timber processing complex and, lastly, energy companies. Thus, during the spawning period, the FWRA requires that HPPs operate in a mode favorable for spawning fish. During the navigation season, the navigation mode is used to enable boat traffic. An adequate water level must always be maintained to enable water withdrawal. The Agency also supervises the preparation of reservoirs for flood control in order to prevent emergencies. HPPs generate electricity strictly within the limits on water consumption set in each case.
In accordance with the law, Irkutskenergo strictly complies with the requirements of the regulator governing the use of water resources, namely the FWRA, for the volume of water flow through the dams of HPPs on the Angara River.
The fact that in the winter of 2014 the water level in Lake Baikal fell to a record low due to objective weather conditions has provided further evidence that it is impossible to maintain the water level in Lake Baikal within the required limits, either during the period of drought or, which is even more problematic, during floods. At the same time, rules and regulations provide no guidelines to be followed in an emergency situation of this kind.
Irkutskenergo is urging government agencies, including the government of Buryatia, to establish a procedure to be followed by all groups of users of water resources, including households, fisheries, industrial enterprises and transport companies, in case of droughts and floods on Lake Baikal in order to preserve the lake. We would advise the government of Buryatia to refrain from statements that are unfounded and often populist and to join these efforts.
Press service of OJSC Irkutskenergo
January 13, 2015