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Премия рунета 2017

Amur without dams

In early 2004, another attempt was made to include new hydropower stations into the Amur state plans. This time the development of hydro potential was described in the Scheme of Integrated Use and Protection of Water Resources (SIUPWR). Despite the presence of letter «P» (protection), the document was a translation of previous SIUWR and considered regulation of the main channel of river Amur. At the same time, the scheme was built without taking into account environmental and socio-economic consequences. Such a document could not be ignored by the largest public environmental organization in the region. WWF organized analysis and criticism of this document. Main claims against SIUPWR were the same: the developers lack understanding of the role of Amur as an ecological framework for preserving biodiversity and combining the flora and fauna of the Amur ecoregion as a whole.

© WWF Russia
© WWF Russia
© WWF Russia
© WWF Russia
© Yuriy Darman
© Yuriy Darman
© Oleg Kabalik
© Oleg Kabalik
© Oleg Kabalik

At the same time, China attempted to initiate the construction of a dam in the Khingan cheeks — the narrowest point of the Amur River, where the great river cuts the Maly Khingan Range. Protocols of intent have been signed between Heilugiang province and the Jewish Autonomous Region. The document could have remained unnoticed if it had not been for WWF intervention. As a result of intense year-long work of the public, plans for the construction of the HPP have been abandoned, and no new steps were taken to use the Khingan line.

Later, in 2011–2012, another attempt was made to start the construction of hydroelectric power stations in the unregulated part of the Amur basin — on river Shilka, which, in fact, is the main channel of river Amur. The World Wildlife Fund consolidated public organizations of the Far East and Transbaikalia to protect the origins of the Amur.

In September 2011, the idea of building a Shilka hydropower plant was sharply criticized by the Coordinating Committee for Sustainable Development of the Amur Basin. Scientists, the public, reserves from the Trans-Baikal Territory, the Amur and Jewish Autonomous regions, the Khabarovsk and Primorsky Krai held a «Week in Defense of Shilka» in 2012. In addition to environmental organizations, trade unions of the Khabarovsk Territory and the Amur Region have joined it. As a result of common efforts, En + has announced a moratorium on the construction of the Trans-Siberian HPP.

The next important step was an emergence of a Scheme for the integrated use and protection of water bodies (SIUPWB), and this was not a permutation of letters.

The new scheme fixes a fundamental provision on the inadmissibility of the construction of hydroelectric power in the mainstream and recommendation not to use flood-dangerous floodplain zone for capital construction.