The Volga basin with a network of small rivers.
Almost all territory of this country is covered by small watercourses total number of which, as estimated by specialists, exceeds 2.5 mn. For centuries these so-called capillars were, in literal sense, the center of life on the endless Russian expanses, source of water and fish and the only convenient transport routes. That is why a lot of towns and villages appeared on their banks. Not so long ago all grain harvest was processed at mills located on small rivers (more than 60,000 mills). Besides, at the beginning of the 20th century there were numerous multifunctional dams not far from them.
However, subsequent industrial development and urbanization called into existence centralized water supply systems and high-power stations. They were built on major water arteries, while small rivers lost their importance as their transportation capacities decreased after development of railroad and automobile communication. Hydrotechnical structures stopped functioning, dams became out-dated and crumbled; that in many cases resulted in elimination of small river fishery. Finally, they turned into waste water reservoirs...
Only recently have we begun to realize that it is impossible to exten-
sively develop farming which is ruining nature. That is why we are now trying to solve the following problem-to protect and revive small watercourses. Experts of the Scientific and Research Institute of Power Installations (Moscow) are working to settle this problem. Their research showed that ecological state of these objects is absolutely different. Thus, watercourses running through urban territories are highly modified, while rural areas suffered less. But general situation is becoming worse without special measures.
But what can be done with our small rivers? Theoretically, we want to see them in their original state. But in the course of long climatic, hydro-logical, and geomorphological processes and water basin transf ... Читать далее