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ENG GEO
WATER

Water is unique and foremost natural resource, a vital product needed for the existence of humanity, wildlife and vegetation. Water, along with the air, is a primary human necessity, which is why water is considered a unique resource, and Georgia is one of the richest countries on the amount of it.

Water resources in Georgia are unequally distributed and are mainly concentrated in western part of it, whereas eastern regions often experience water shortages. 26060 rivers flow in Georgia with a total length of 60,000 km. 99,4% of these rivers are short-length (less than 25 km) and they belong to two major basins, separated by Likhi range. 18109 rivers belong to the Black Sea basin, which is 70% of all Georgian rivers, and 7951 (30%) – to the Caspian Sea basin. Hydrologically investigated are 555 Black Sea basin rivers and 528 Caspian Sea basin rivers. Almost all East Georgian rivers create the Mtkvari river single system flowing into Caspian; and West Georgian rivers flow into the Black Sea individually. Georgia’s largest river is Mtkvari, only the middle part of which (400 km) flows in Georgia. It originates in Turkey and flows into Caspian on the territory of Azerbaijan. The largest and deepest river of West Georgia is Rioni that flows entirely in the territory of Georgia. It originates in the Caucasian mountains and flows into the Black Sea through Kutaisi and Poti.

There are up to 860 lakes in Georgia. Most of them are very small with total area of 170 km². (0,24% of the country’s territory). Most of them are freshwater lakes. The largest in area is Paravani Lake, and the largest in volume is Tabatskuri Lake. The deepest is Ritsa Lake (it is the deepest among the Transcaucasia lakes). Swamps occupy particularly large areas on the Colchis lowland (225 thousand ha).

In the west Georgia is washed by the Black Sea. The length of the coastal strip within Georgia is about 315 km. The Black Sea is a unique water body. This is the sea with the largest catchment area. Basin area is 2 million km². Thanks to these natural features the Black Sea became notable in terms of biodiversity. Due to the large catchment area and semi-closed nature, the Black sea is very sensitive to human disturbance.

Of 26 commercial fish species recorded in 1960, only 3-4 survived. Because of exaggerated fishing in 1970-80ies fisheries structure has changed dramatically. The main reason for the reduction of commercial species is exaggerated fishing, the invasion of unknown species and degradation of fish habitat. The Black Sea is of invaluable importance for Georgia. It is an important formation for the country’s general geographic location, its resource potential, recreation area, the main artery of external relations. The Black Sea is an important means of transportation. It allows contacts with other maritime nations.

The groundwater (fresh, mineral and thermal) is among most important mineral wealth of Georgia. It is characterized by greater resources, high quality indicators, and time reproducibility in contrast to solid ore. Georgia’s groundwater (freshwater) potential per capita is 2,5 times higher than that of the world. Groundwater is used as drinking water, for therapeutic purposes and as a source of thermal energy.

Groundwater, for their salinity and temperature, are divided into groups:
  • Fresh drinking water (salinity not more than 1,0 g/l);
  • Mineral water (general salinity over 1.0 g/l)
  • Thermal water – therapeutic (20-35°C), Heat-and-power (40-108°C).
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Water consumption dramatically increased in recent years both in urban and rural areas. Appropriately increased and expanded the water pollution.

Water bodies are polluted by waste water of chemical, metallurgic, industries, oil production, radioactive elements, fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture, fecal and domestic sewage etc.  Due to pollution the amount of oxygen reduces in it, aquatic life is poisoned etc.
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