Spring Freshet Period in the European Part of Russia Draws to a Close
JSC RusHydro (ticker symbol: RTS, MICEX, LSE: HYDR; OTCQX: RSHYY) announces that the spring freshet has almost finished for the Company's hydropower plants (HPPs) in European Russia. A steady decrease in inflow has been observed at the majority of Volzhsky-Kamsky Cascade reservoirs. Executed activities on flow level control and ensuring the normal functioning of hydropower facilities made it possible for the Company's HPPs to function under normal operating conditions during the period of spring freshet.
Initial forecasts of Hydrometeorological Centre of Russia of 25-40 % increase in water content in snowpacks in the basins of the Volzhsky-Kamsky HPPs Cascade did not materialize. In February, experts noted that the snow reserves are 15-45 cm above average multi-year levels and expected record elevation of water levels in rivers during spring freshet, with ensuing flooding of adjacent territories requiring contingency measures. According to meteorologists' estimates, in March, water reserves in snowpacks of Volga basin exceeded normal levels by 1.25x-1.7x and the water inflow in 2Q 2011 was expected at 158-188 km3. The adjusted forecast now puts this range at 134-154 km3. In May, the average water inflow in hydropower plants' reservoirs on Volga and Kama rivers was estimated at 6,400-6,600 m3/s, which is 13% lower than long-term average annual values.
Currently, the total available capacity of reservoirs is below last year's levels and totals 15.6 km3. RusHydro and Federal Agency of Water Resources of Russia have been taking measures to ensure the sufficiency of water reserves and sustainable water supply for consumers. In particular, water discharges through hydropower facilities as well as water flashes for fish passage to the lower Volga have been cut. Water discharges to the tailrace of Kamskaya HPP have also been decreased earlier than usual.
However, the probability of insufficient replenishment of reservoirs of Volga-Kama Cascade remains.
Hydropower plants of Siberia are currently undergoing the final stage of spring freshet. As for Volga in European Russia the forecast of water inflow in 2Q 2011 was revised downwards. According to latest estimates, the inflow to Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP is expected in the range of 2,100-2,600 m3/s (16.3-20.3 km3) which amounts to 81-101% of normal level. During the first ten days of May, the plant operated in the mode of maintaining the 500 m level (dead storage level) to prepare the dam for reservoir filling. As of May 30, 2011, the headrace level for the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP was 506.45 m; the average daily inflow as of May 29, 2011, is 3,800 m3/s and the discharge to the tailrace is 1,261 m3/s. The freshet period is over for Novosibirskaya HPP; its reservoir is now filled. During the upcoming summer period, the hydrological regime of this HPP will depend on the amount of rainfalls.
In Siberia and the Far East, high water due to snow melting will turn into a high water period subject to monsoon rains by the end of June. The inflow increase is registered at the cross section of the Zeiskaya HPP. As estimated, it will amount to 1,600 m³/s in May, close to multi-year average. In Q2 2011, inflow is expected at 1,200 m3/s, 10% above average. To carry out repair work in the downstream channel, a deep empty of the Zeiskaya reservoir was carried out. On April 29th, 2011, it reached its minimal level (309.06 m) and at present, the reservoir water level stands at 309.6 m (full reservoir level - 315 m).
For hydropower plants of Northern Caucasus, the hydrological situation is characterized as stable. In Q2 2011, water inflow to all main rivers is expected to be close to normal. The Kubanskie HPPs Cascade operates in the mode of increased water supply to the Big Stavropol Channel. A slow increase in inflow and filling of reservoirs on the Sulak River (Republic of Dagestan) are in progress. As of May 30, 2011, the level of the Chirkeysk reservoir was 329.99 m (minimum level - 315.0 m), while water level of Irganaysk reservoir stands at 539.06 m (full reservoir level - 547.0 m).
Decisions on water discharge through facilities of hydropower plants as well as water levels in reservoirs of RusHydro are made by the Federal Agency for Water Resources of the Russian Ministry for Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, with due consideration of recommendations from inter-departmental task groups for reservoir operational control.
The information in this press release may contain projections or other forward-looking statements regarding future events or the future financial performance of RusHydro. You can identify forward looking statements by terms such as "expect," "believe," "anticipate," "estimate," "intend," "will," "could," "may" or "might," the negative of such terms or other similar expressions. We wish to caution you that these statements are only predictions and that actual events or results may differ materially from these statements. We do not intend to update these statements to reflect events and circumstances occurring after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Many factors could cause the actual results to differ materially from those contained in our projections or forward-looking statements, including, among others, general economic conditions, our competitive environment, risks associated with operating in Russia, rapid technological and market change in our industries, as well as many other risks specifically related to RusHydro and its operations.
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