Anastasiya Vouchak


2 Assessment of Surface Water Quality in Belarus

Authors: Anastasiya Vouchak, Aliaksandr Volchak


Belarus is not short of water. However, there is a problem of water quality. Its pollution has both natural and man-made origin. This research is based on data from State Water Cadastre of the Republic of Belarus registered from 1994 to 2014. We analyzed changes in such hydro-chemical criteria as concentration of ammonium ions, suspended matter, dissolved oxygen, oil-products, nitrites, phosphates in water, dichromate value, water impurity index, 5-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). Pollution of water with ammonium ions was observed in Belarus rivers of the Western Dvina, Polota, Schara, Usha, Muhavets, Berzina, Plissa, Svisloch, Pripiat, Yaselda in 2006-2014. The threshold limit value (TLV) was 1.5-3 times as much. Concentration of ammonia in the Berezina exceeded 3 – 5 times the TLVs in 2006-2010. Maximum excess of TLV was registered in the Svisloch (10 km downstream of Minsk) in 2006-2007. It was over 4 mg/dm³ whereas the norm is 0.39 mg/dm³. In 1997 there were ammonia pollution spots in the Dnieper, the Berezina, and the Svisloch Rivers. Since 2006 we have observed pollution spots in the Neman, Ross, Vilia, Sozh, Gorin Rivers, the Osipovichi and Soligorsk reservoirs. Dichromate value exceeds the TLVs in 40% cases. The most polluted waters are the Muhavets, Berezina, Pripiat, Yaselda, Gorin Rivers, the Vileyka and Soligorsk reservoirs. The Western Dvina, Neman, Viliya, Schara, Svisloch, and Plissa Rivers are less polluted. The Dnieper is the cleanest in this respect. In terms of BOD, water is polluted in the Neman, Muhavets, Svisloch, Yaselda, Gorin Rivers, the Osipovichi, Zaslavl, and Soligorsk reservoirs. The Western Dvina, Polota, Sozh, Iputs Rivers and Lake Naroch are not polluted in this respect. This criterion has been decreasing in 33 out of 42 cases. The least suspended matter is in the Berezina, Sozh, Iputs Rivers and Lake Naroch. The muddiest water is in the Neman, Usha, Svisloch, Pripyat, Yaselda Rivers, the Osipovichi and Soligorsk reservoirs. Water impurity index shows reduction of this criterion at all gauge stations. Multi-year average values predominantly (66.6%) correspond to the third class of water quality, i.e. moderately polluted. They include the Western Dvina, Ross, Usha, Muhavets, Dnieper, Berezina, Plissa, Iputs, Pripyat, Yaselda, Gorin Rivers, the Osipovichi and Soligorsk reservoirs. Water in the Svisloch River downstream of Minsk is of the forth quality class, i.e. most polluted. In the rest cases (33.3%) water is relatively clean. They include the Lidea, Schara, Viliya, Sozh Rivers, Lake Lukoml, Lake Naroch, Vileyka and Zaslavl reservoirs. Multi-year average values range from 7.0 to 9.5 mg О₂/dm³. The Yaselda has the least value - 6.7 mg О₂/dm³. A shortage of dissolved oxygen was found in the Berezina (2010), the Yaselda (2007), the Plissa (2011-2014), the Soligorsk reservoir (1996). Contamination of water with oil-products was observed everywhere in 1994-1999. Some spots were found in the Western Dvina, Vilia, Usha, Dnieper in 2003-2006, in the Svisloch in 2002-2012. We are observing gradual decrease of oil pollutants in surface water. The quality of 67 % surface water is referred to as moderately polluted.

Keywords: Water pollution, Water Quality, belarus, hydro-chemical criteria

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1 Peculiarities of Snow Cover in Belarus

Authors: Aleh Meshyk, Anastasiya Vouchak


On the average snow covers Belarus for 75 days in the south-west and 125 days in the north-east. During the cold season snowpack often destroys due to thaws, especially at the beginning and end of winter. Over 50% of thawing days have a positive mean daily temperature, which results in complete snow melting. For instance, in December 10% of thaws occur at 4 С mean daily temperature. Stable snowpack lying for over a month forms in the north-east in the first decade of December but in the south-west in the third decade of December. The cover disappears in March: in the north-east in the last decade but in the south-west in the first decade. This research takes into account that precipitation falling during a cold season could be not only liquid and solid but also a mixed type (about 10-15 % a year). Another important feature of snow cover is its density. In Belarus, the density of freshly fallen snow ranges from 0.08-0.12 g/cm³ in the north-east to 0.12-0.17 g/cm³ in the south-west. Over time, snow settles under its weight and after melting and refreezing. Averaged annual density of snow at the end of January is 0.23-0.28 g/сm³, in February – 0.25-0.30 g/сm³, in March – 0.29-0.36 g/сm³. Sometimes it can be over 0.50 g/сm³ if the snow melts too fast. The density of melting snow saturated with water can reach 0.80 g/сm³. Average maximum of snow depth is 15-33 cm: minimum is in Brest, maximum is in Lyntupy. Maximum registered snow depth ranges within 40-72 cm. The water content in snowpack, as well as its depth and density, reaches its maximum in the second half of February – beginning of March. Spatial distribution of the amount of liquid in snow corresponds to the trend described above, i.e. it increases in the direction from south-west to north-east and on the highlands. Average annual value of maximum water content in snow ranges from 35 mm in the south-west to 80-100 mm in the north-east. The water content in snow is over 80 mm on the central Belarusian highland. In certain years it exceeds 2-3 times the average annual values. Moderate water content in snow (80-95 mm) is characteristic of western highlands. Maximum water content in snow varies over the country from 107 mm (Brest) to 207 mm (Novogrudok). Maximum water content in snow varies significantly in time (in years), which is confirmed by high variation coefficient (Cv). Maximums (0.62-0.69) are in the south and south-west of Belarus. Minimums (0.42-0.46) are in central and north-eastern Belarus where snow cover is more stable. Since 1987 most gauge stations in Belarus have observed a trend to a decrease in water content in snow. It is confirmed by the research. The biggest snow cover forms on the highlands in central and north-eastern Belarus. Novogrudok, Minsk, Volkovysk, and Sventayny highlands are a natural orographic barrier which prevents snow-bringing air masses from penetrating inside the country. The research is based on data from gauge stations in Belarus registered from 1944 to 2014.

Keywords: Density, snow, depth, water content in snow

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