ST. PETERSBURG, August 12 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday witnessed the commissioning of a flood prevention facility in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg.
The ceremony was timed to coincide with the Builder’s Day marked in Russia. According to the prime minister, the construction industry is one of the most important ones for the Russian economy. “In the next few years we must at least double the construction of housing bringing it up to 100 million square meters of housing a year,” he said.
In his words, the commissioning of St. Petersburg’s flood prevention facility is a “historic event.” The construction began back in 1979 and proceeded fair-to-middling, he noted. He said that after his visit to the facility in 2005 he had doubts whether it could be completed at all but the construction resumed in 2006. “As a result, the city has been granted not merely protection from floods, but its ecology has benefited as well,” he said referring to the city circular road that has also been completed as the facility is commissioned. “I am pleased to say that this facility is being commissioned ahead of the Builder’s Day,” he said. “I would like to congratulate all of you.”
The flood prevention complex is a unique multifunctional facility, which does not have analogues in the world. Its main objective is to protect the city from possible floods, where water may rise by up to five meters.
The probability of a catastrophic scenario is growing with the growing repetition of such events. As many as 25 percent of the entire number of the Neva River’s floods in the past 300 years have occurred within the past 15 years. The number of floods with water level rising by over 250 centimetres grew fife-fold in the past 25 years, and most of them happen in winter periods, which hardly ever happened in previous centuries. Statistics says that every year about 100 risings of water occur.
The St. Petersburg flood prevention facility, unofficially called the Saint Petersburg Dam, is a 25-kilometer complex of dams for flood control. It extends from Lomonosov northward to Kotlin Island (and the city of Kronstadt), then turns east toward Cape Lisiy Nos near Sestroretsk. It is intended to protect Saint Petersburg from storm surge by separating the Neva Bay from the rest of the gulf. Standing eight meters above water level, the complex has two large openings for shipping, which can be closed when floods threaten.