Barnaul: Russia`s longest river Ob in Siberia, which supplies water to such major cities as Barnaul, Novosibirsk and Berdsk, is going shallow due to insufficient rainfall, thus jeopardising navigation.
The head of the Ob State Basin Department of Waterways and Navigation, Sergei Pavlushkin, said there is only 50-70 percent of the snow required for normal run-off, which forebodes problems for this year`s navigation.
According to the Altai weather centre, the level of water in the Ob near Barnaul is 81 cm below the mark. This is a record low indicator over the years. The situation is similar in Novosibirsk.
"Water inflow in 2011 was 25 percent lower the average multi-annual level. There was little rainfall last autumn, and runoff to the Novosibirsk Water Reservoir this past winter was only 70 percent of the required amount," the press service of the Novosibirsk hydropower plant said.
It said that "the plant is using as little water as possible in order to keep water supply to the city at the sufficient level".
Specialists refrain from making forecasts. Being shallow, many rivers froze almost to the bottom and this may cause ice clogging this spring.
Demolition teams are getting ready to blow up ice in the Altai Territory if such a need arises.