All chapters:



Waters and water management

Ecosystems and ecoregions

Species diversity and use of biological resources

Nature conservation: econet and protected areas

Countries & cultures


Land use

International policy

Waters and water management

Water infrastructure in the Amur-Heilong River Basin
Related maps, pictures, links

In the Amur-Heilong basin there are many incentives to build dams.
First, the tremendous seasonal variation in volume of flow is viewed as an impediment to agriculture, water supply, and other uses.
Second, hydropower resources are increasingly important as demand for energy in northeast Asia grows.
Third, from a short-term perspective, water infrastructure is seen as the quickest and most obvious tool to regulate natural floods, which are viewed as the major recurring natural disaster in the region.
Fourth, at least in Russia and China, the very notion of “water management” is, in the eyes of water authorities, firmly associated with building and operating dams and dykes: If you do not build them, you are not managing water.
Fifth, rivers meander, often causing disputes where rivers demarcate national borders.  Authorities often attempt to constrain river meandering by engineering.
Sixth, over the longer term, the Amur-Heilong basin is a border between increasingly thirsty northern China and Mongolia, and water-abundant Russia.  As the water crisis intensifies, pressure to withdraw and transfer “Russia’s” water southward could increase dramatically.
Based on these influences, it is not surprising that water infrastructure development has become a tool of international politics comparable in influence to oil and gas.  These are the reasons why water infrastructure development is one of the most pressing concerns for those trying to protect the Amur-Heilong ecosystem If transboundary integrated river basin management (IRBM) is to be accepted, it must offer technologies to manage the inevitable compromises between natural river processes and water resource distribution.
There are notable differences in water management policies in China, Russia and Mongolia, but  key problems could be solved only by international efforts.

Map collection:

Climate, waters and water management



Simplified hydrography of Amur River basin (Basemap)

Water infrastructure: dams and water transfers



Amur river system

Water management


GIS: Amur hydrography, wetlands and water infrastructure


Major canal outlet into Songhua river. Heilongjiang. (Photo by E.Simonov)

Also look:

Western rivers of headwaters of Amur-Heilong River Basin

Eastern tributaries in Amur-Heilong River Basin

Lakes and reservoirs of Amur-Heilong River Basin

Lakes of Western Amur-Heilong River Basin

Lakes of Eastern Amur-Heilong River Basin

River between –environmental perspective on Amur water management

Water infrastructure in the Amur-Heilong River Basin

Dam development in Russia

Water management and dams in China

Water Transfers in China

Water transfers and wells in Mongolia

Development of dykes

Case Study on international planning: "Joint Comprehensive Scheme on Amur and Argun Rivers"

Is there enough water?

WCD lessons for Amur

Water pollution conundrum


Full contents
Full digest
Full atlas
All pictures