Resources Science ›› 2018, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (11): 2186-2195.doi: 10.18402/resci.2018.11.05

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial distribution and potential exploration of water resources in Siberia

Ping WANG1(), Tianye WANG1,2, Guan WANG1,2, Xuejing ZHANG1,2, Zehong LI2,3(), L.A. Bezrukov4   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. Key Laboratory for Resource Use and Environmental Remediation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    4. Institute of Geography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk 664033, Russia
  • Received:2018-04-27 Revised:2018-10-09 Online:2018-11-20 Published:2018-11-12


Freshwater is the foundation of human survival and a global strategic resource. The Siberian region of Russia has a total area of 9.69 million km2, which includes the Lake Baikal (~ 22% of the total surface freshwater resources), rivers with a total length of ~5 million km and large reservoirs. The large rivers such as Yenisei, Lena, and Ob are extremely rich in water resources. The average annual water resources in this area are 2350 km3, accounting for 55% of the total water resources in Russia. The hydropower resources are 1.556 trillion kilowatt hours, accounting for 65% of the total hydropower resources in Russia. The water transport resources are 56,500 km, accounting for 55.8% of the total water transport resources in Russia. This area is rich in water resources, while it is sparsely populated (less than 24 million people, accounting for only about 16% of the total Russian population). Therefore, this region demonstrates a low utilization of water resources, with great potential for development. Mountain Rivers in Siberian are rich in water resources. Therefore, the water power development has broad prospects. As the results of the global warming, the icing period of plain rivers in Siberian becomes shorter and the shipping capacity continues to increase. Additionally, under the background of severe water shortages in the surrounding areas of Siberian, the supply of freshwater resources to Central Asia, Mongolia, and northern China through virtual water trade or inter-basin water transfer indicate an important strategic significance and will promote the coordinated economic and social development of the region. With the implementation of the "Belt and Road Initiative" and the "China-Mongolia-Russia International Economic Corridor", China, Mongolia, and Russia have broad prospects for cooperation in hydropower and energy.

Key words: Russia, Siberia, water resources, cooperative development, inter-basin water transfer