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17.05.2011

The Volga River is ecologically dirty already in its upstream water in the Tver and Yaroslav regions. The man-made lakes located along the whole river flow only aggravate the situation! In the nearest future water will become the most expensive natural resource on the Earth. Already at present the price for the liter of drinking water in a store is comparable with the price for the liter of petrol and sometimes exceeds it! An obligate question arises in this respect – why the extraction of oil is regulated, taxed etc. and the use of natural water resources is not subject to the similar strict control?

70% of a man is water. There is 80% of water in a newborn baby, 70% — in a man of middle age, up to 58% — in a man of extreme old age. Ageing is a “running dry” process.
 
Without food a man can outlast up to three weeks. In hot weather without water a man can die just in several hours from the fluid loss. If a strong man is put in ideal conditions, i.e. not very hot and not very cold climate, he can probably outlast about 3 – 5 days without a drop of water. More healthy people can outlast one or two days longer. WITHOUT WATER IT IS ONLY … 3 – 5 DAYS!!!
 
Every year the population of the globe grows by 1,7% (85 million people). Generally people settle along the banks of water resources: springs, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans.
The growth of industrial production requires more and more water.
During the last summer many natural underground deposits (strata) of water in Russia were completely depleted!!!
 
As a result of using the water for the daily living needs the enormous quantity of poisonous substances gets into water every day. In Russia alone this figure reaches at a conservative estimate 100000 ton of poisonous substances a day!!!
 
Rivers have been and will remain the main renewable source of fresh water, as well of the seas and oceans. Rivers again is the main source for replenishing the water resources of the seas and oceans. Rivers are the blood circulatory system of the Earth and therefore the majority of human settlements and objects of industrial purpose is concentrated along small rivulets and big rivers.
 
What is happening in the world?
 
The Amazon – the all-over deforesting leads to the soil degradation, accelerated erosion and other negative consequences. Tropical rains quickly wash away the upper topsoil not protected by flora, as a result of which the forest will never be able to regenerate…
Kenya and Argentine – snow and ice melting may result in their full disappearance…
For the first time during almost hundred years the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentine began to melt in winter.
 
China – the great Yangtze River shoals year by year… The Chinese hydrologists have registered the lowest water level in the Yangtze River over half a century… The unusually heavy seasonal shoaling of the Mekong River this year halted the boarder trade between Thailand and China – the Thailand TNA news agency reports on Tuesday.
 
Trade between North Thailand and South China has been stopped already for two weeks, as the river has completely dried up and the cargo barges of both sides are “locked” in the river ports of Chiang Rai province in Thailand and Yunnan province in China – the agency reports.
 
There is an inter-State and intergovernmental problem in the north of Africa connected with the plans of Ethiopia to build hydroelectric power plants, and in particular on the Blue Nile.
 
The beds of great rivers are the natural transportation routes and as any transportation routes they should be modernized and put to rights, and their use for transportation purposes should be taxed more heavily.
 
The solution for all the aforementioned problems may only be the establishing of the governments for the great river basins!
 
Such governments will manage to create an optimal system of operation and prospective development/preservation of the naturally renewable water resources in a complex way and, which is foremost, with regard to the requirements of the territories located in the basins of such rivers.
 
Depending on their location such governments may be both national and supranational. The establishing of the government structures will require solid working-out, but in any case it is supposed to scrutinize the experience of such organizations as the UN and European Parliament excluding their awkwardness and superfluous bureaucracy.

Vladimir Shukhov

President of the “Shukhov tower” Foundation,
text of the speech delivered at the forum
"GREAT RIVERS", Nizhniy Novgorod
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