Central Asia NGOs Network "Water and Pollution", P.B. 1451, Bishkek 720040, Kyrgyzstan
Abstract. There are over 5,000 mountain lakes in the region, and 724 of them can potentially destroy villages and farmland. In the case of Alpine lakes, failure can produce discharges containing many stones, which have a large destructive potential. Several cases of such disasters have occurred over the last 10 years - a tenth of the dwellings in several villages and two towns had been destroyed. Many water reservoirs were built up to 20-30 years ago, now partly ruined and situated in a zone of high seismic activity (up to 9 on the Richter scale). Thus, these water reservoirs may be the starting point of disasters and floods in the event of earthquakes or terrorist acts. Other disasters can happen on the riversides. There are many warehouses and tailings situated on the banks of rivers. A major fish kill caused by poison from a pesticides warehouse in Son-Kul, which is a high-altitude lake (storage - 2.64 km3) in Kyrgyzstani Tien-Shan in 1977.
There are two extremely dangerous warehouse or tailings areas in TienShan. The first one is due to cyanide contained in waste from gold mining in the Kum-Tor area, 4,100 above sea level. The Petrov-Davidov Glacier is situated above the dump and can destroy it, and the waste flow down to the River Ara-bel and thence down to the Narin River. Such an event would be dangerous for 80,000 riverside residents. The other area, with the uranium storehouses, is situated in the Mailuu-Suu River region. There are tailings, number 3 and 7, which are especially unstable, and in danger of flowing down to the town and the River Mailuu-Suu. All the dangerous processes mentioned are sensitive to global warming: glaciers and snow melting, increases in river discharges, etc.
Keywords: Debris flows, mine tailings, fish kills, earthquakes, reservoirs 1. Introduction
There are over 5,000 mountain lakes, and 724 of them can flatten villages in TienShan-Pamir region. Bursting of the Alpine lakes can carry many stones, and have great destructive potential. Several cases of such disasters
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have occurred during the last 10 years - dwellings in several villages and two towns had been destroyed. There are 13,954 water-landslide danger points in the TienShan-Pamir mountain system. Many water reservoirs in the region were constructed many years ago. There are many warehouses with toxic wastage situated on the banks of rivers. In the event of failure, it would be like a "water-Chernobyl". The cause of these catastrophes can be natural (groundwater rise, soil saturation, landslides, avalanches or earthquakes), or man-made (unstable waste dumps or damage to drainage channels).
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