In recent months, the State Duma, the government, the authorities of Moscow and the Moscow region have adopted a lot of laws and decisions, the essence of which boils down to one thing: now you can build anywhere and anything. In particular, in the 2nd belt of zones of sanitary protection of sources of drinking water supply.
As you know, in February of this year, the legislative restriction on the privatization and turnover of land plots in the 2nd zone of the zones of sanitary protection of drinking water sources was canceled. The lifting of the ban on the discharge of wastewater into water bodies in the 2nd and 3rd belts of the sanitary protection zones is being prepared. This order was given by Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova.
“Massive development of the floodplain of the Moscow River leads to the fact that the water in the area of Moscow water intakes will become approximately the same as the citizens see it within the city itself. Probably, if Muscovites knew that the water that gets on their table from an ordinary water supply is taken somewhere in the Luzhniki area or opposite the Moscow Kremlin, then many of them would not only stop drinking this water, even filtered, but also stopped take a shower and even wash your face with this water, no matter how they are convinced that at special water treatment plants this water has been brought to the standard quality,” Anton Khlynov, a member of the Commission for Environmental Welfare at the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, believes.
However, developers, armed with the latest government regulations, immediately set to work. For example, the Acron group of companies started the construction of 1.4 million square meters of luxury housing in the floodplain of the Moskva River near Zvenigorod, in the sanitary protection zone of the Moscow water pipeline. This project can put an end to the clean drinking water of the city and region.
But the court did not take the side of the townspeople. The Moscow City Court dismissed the lawsuit filed by residents of several suburban settlements against the Moscow government. The essence of their demands is to abolish the rules for land use and development of the territory near Zvenigorod (an exclave of the new Moscow) annexed to Moscow in 2012. The fact is that these development rules do not take into account the restrictions imposed by law and sanitary rules on the development and exploitation of floodplain lands along the Moskva River. Now Zvenigorod residents are preparing an appeal and an appeal to the Supreme Court.
This case, unfortunately, is not isolated. In the vicinity of the village of Islavskoye, Odintsovo district, in the sanitary protection zone, just 150-200 meters from the Moscow River (!), VTB Bank plans to build up 12 land plots, which, according to the urban planning plan, are a recreational zone. It is interesting that in 2011 they already wanted to build them up, but a local resident Boris Barykin proved through the court that it is illegal to use these plots for building. Why is this possible now?
The fact is that in December 2019, the heads of Moscow and the Moscow region S. Sobyanin and A. Vorobyov, by their joint resolution, "demolished" all the regulatory legal acts of the government of the RSFSR adopted in the period from 1940 to 1974, which established the borders and regimes of sanitary protection of water supply sources of the Moscow water pipeline, having repeatedly reduced the area of protected areas. They disappeared in Moscow and the Moscow Region, contrary to the requirements of the Federal Sanitary Rules of 2010. Today, only the interregional regulatory act of 1980 is in force - the decision of the executive committees of the Moscow City Council and the Moscow Regional Council, the effect of which is limited to the territory of the Forest Park Protective Belt of Moscow no further than 20-25 km from the Moscow Ring Road.
As a result of all these manipulations, most of the floodplain lands along the Moskva River and its tributaries were removed from sanitary protection, contrary to the current federal sanitary rules. These plots have been privatized by large landowners, who, of course, dream of building up these territories with commercial real estate as much as possible, receiving income from each square meter. The issue of clean drinking water from the tap is of little concern to anyone. But it is from the Moscow River that residents of Moscow and the Moscow Region receive 2/3 of the water.
“If the sanitary zone is built up, irreversible changes will occur with the water of the Moskva River. The river will become a source of cyanobacteria, which will begin to decompose explosively, blue-green algae will begin to multiply. This will be a disaster for the drinking water supply. The toxin of blue-green algae acts on the central nervous system of animals and humans, this manifests itself in the occurrence of paralysis of the hind limbs, the failure of the rhythm of the central nervous system. In chronic poisoning with cyanotoxins, the number of erythrocytes decreases, tissue respiration is suppressed. Immunity drops. In terms of the impact on metabolic processes and tissue respiration of animals and humans, the toxin of blue-green algae is extremely dangerous, ” an ecologist, hydrologist, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Viktor Danilov-Danilyan told NI.
Developers and officials argue about a water treatment system. Yes, there are 4 water treatment stations in Moscow. Their total capacity is 6.37 million cubic meters per day. The water of the Moskva River is purified and supplied to the city by the Rublevskaya and Western stations, from the Volga - by the Eastern and Northern stations. As NI was informed at JSC Mosvdokanal, the share of the Moskvoretsky source (Rublyovskaya and Zapadnaya water treatment plants) in the production of drinking water for the city's water supply was 66.3%. But even these powerful stations will not save the situation.
“If at first water treatment plants can still cope with the pollution of natural water intakes, then over time, with the degradation of river and near-water ecosystems, the effectiveness of technical methods of water treatment is sharply reduced. At least, water treatment to the level of standard quality of "table" water will become much more expensive. Harmful bacteria will get into the water, which at some point the treatment facilities will no longer be able to cope with”, - Anton Khlynov, a member of the Commission for Ecological Welfare at the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, believes.
“The water purification system in the case of building up the floodplain of the Moscow River can become “golden”. It will cost a lot of money. Where can I get them? Of course, from the population. As a result, utility bills for water will increase. The second way is to pay for everything to the state. But in this case, taxes will increase. That is, the same people will pay, but in a different way. There is a third option: do without additional cleaning at all. But it will be a terrible threat to the health of a huge number of people. And what is all this for? In order to build a corps for 40 thousand people in the floodplain of the Moscow River? Of course, there are other places that are not related to water intake, but here the apartments will be more expensive, because the view of the river. At the same time, no one thinks that the river will rot. Apparently, the developer has the logic: “After us, at least a flood! Dirty water." Apparently, they think something like this”, - an ecologist, hydrologist, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Viktor Danilov-Danilyan told NI.
In the meantime, the development of floodplain areas near the drinking water intake is already becoming a trend. The development project under the cynical name "Life Everywhere" is not the only plan for mass development of the lands of new Moscow and the Moscow region immediately adjacent to the Moscow River. In 2017, the development parameters of the Rublevo-Uspensky exclave were included in the general plan of the capital (and most of it is located within a 500-meter strip from the banks of the Moscow River and its tributaries, i.e. in the 2nd water intake belt). Similar plans are being prepared for approval in the adjacent urban districts of the Moscow Region. According to current standards, the volume of water disposal from 3.5 million m2 of development planned on the territory of the Rublevo-Uspensky exclave will lead to 50-55 thousand m3 of municipal wastewater per day entering the Moscow River, not counting storm drains.
Because of this development, one of the main tributaries of the Moscow River is in danger of becoming a continuous sewer. According to one of the projects, communal wastewater from the development of the territory of the Moscow Stud Farm No. 1 is planned to be transferred to the treatment facilities of the Gorki-10 village, from which they are diverted into the Vyazemka River - already the dirtiest tributary of the Moscow River in the upper reaches. Chemical analysis of water samples showed that the concentration of phosphates in Vyazemka is about 1-1.5 mg/l, which is 4 times higher than its content in the Moscow River. In addition to industrial effluents, the river receives large volumes of wastewater from municipal wastewater treatment plants. The ecosystem cannot cope with pollution, and it enters the Moskva River with the flow of the Vyazemka River. And this is a real ecological catastrophe, which will affect not only water.
“The increasing frequency of catastrophic weather events in the summer in Moscow and the region in recent years is a consequence of changes in the mesoclimate as a result of thoughtless mass development in the region. The surface sealed in concrete and stone increases, as a result, it ceases to fulfill its functions as a climate regulator. The humidity of the air decreases, the temperature gradient increases. All this has a very negative effect on weather conditions - leads to squally winds, hurricanes, heavy rains and floods. Mass construction to the west of Moscow will lead to an increase in the aridity of the climate, an increase in air temperatures, and a decrease in fresh air in the city itself”, - Anton Khlynov, a member of the Commission for Environmental Welfare at the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, told NI.
Where is the exit? Experts believe that it is necessary, first of all, to reconsider the very privatization of floodplain lands near water intake sites. There are many questions about this privatization, and it is not a fact that everything is happening legally. Especially regarding the transfer of these lands for development: after all, most of these lands should be especially valuable and, accordingly, not subject to transfer for development.
“First of all, it is necessary to revise the urban planning policy in the region, imposing a moratorium on the mass development of land in the floodplains and on large expanses of former agricultural land, and even more so in forests, regardless of the legal status of the land. This can be done by changing the urban planning regulations of the territories, setting a minimum percentage of development and developing a network of specially protected areas. The best way out of the urban "bondage" is to change the economic vector of development of the territories of the Moscow region. Instead of mass construction of fields in river valleys, it is necessary to develop tourism and recreation here, which are in great demand in a multimillion-dollar agglomeration”, - Anton Khlynov, a member of the Commission for Ecological Welfare at the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, believes.
And there is also reason to believe that the regional decrees of the mayor of Moscow Sobyanin and the governor of the Moscow region Vorobyov regarding the development of land near water intake zones are contrary to the instructions of the president. “I sent the president 3 analytical notes on this matter, and after that he issued an instruction to strengthen the protection of water supply sources”, - Academician Viktor Danilov-Danilyan told NI.
Indeed, in 2020 and 2021, the president gave instructions to take measures to prevent the construction of industrial and other facilities in the 2nd belt of sanitary protection zones, which could lead to pollution and depletion of water (orders dated 13.02.20 and 18.02.2022 ). However, officials at both the federal and regional levels in a sophisticated way began to bypass the presidential orders and actually act contrary to them. And here one cannot but agree with the position of Academician Viktor Danilov-Danilyan: “The Moscow River is the cradle and one of the symbols of the Russian State. Turning it into a garbage dump is a state crime”.