Water supply and sanitation in Russia

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This article was written in 2010 with partial updates as of December 2013.

Russia: Water and Sanitation
Flag of Russia.svg
Water coverage (broad definition)
Sanitation coverage (broad definition)
Continuity of supply (%) continuous
Average urban water use (liter/capita/day) 248 liter (2004)[1]
Average urban water and sewer bill for 20m3
Share of household metering
Share of collected wastewater treated
Annual investment in WSS
Share of self-financing by utilities
Share of tax-financing
Share of internal debt financing
Share of foreign financing
Decentralization to municipalities Partial
National water and sanitation company No
Water and sanitation regulator No
Responsibility for policy setting Ministry of Natural Resources
Sector law Various laws
Number of urban service providers About 2,800
Number of rural service providers n/a

In Russia, approximately 70 per cent of drinking water comes from surface water and 30 per cent from groundwater. In 2004, water supply systems had a total capacity of 90 million cubic metres a day. The average residential water use was 248 litres per capita per day.[2] One fourth of the world’s fresh surface and groundwater is located in Russia. The water utilities sector is one of the largest industries in Russia serving the entire Russian population.

Service quality[edit]

Water purification station (two round towers) on the Volga waterfront in Kstovo

Water supply According to a 2004 UN report, in some cities and towns drinking water quality is poor. Typical of the majority of surface waters is the increase in the intensity of the bacterial and viral load, the poor functioning of wastewater treatment plants, the virtual absence of purified wastewater, and infringements of the rules governing the use of water in water protection zones. However, the requirements regarding the quality of drinking water have been made stricter. The relevant recommendations of the World Health Organization have been put into effect. New standards now determine the water treatment technology and the policy of organizations monitoring the quality of water at all stages from the time it leaves the water supply point until it reaches the consumer.[2]

Sanitation In 2002, the capacity of the wastewater treatment plants was 56.1 million cubic metres a day, which is more than twice the 1995 level. The length of the sewerage network was 118,000 km. The amount of wastewater passing through the plants in 2002 represents 86 per cent of wastewater emitted. Of this, only 28 per cent is treated in accordance with the established regulations, while the remainder is discharged, insufficiently treated, into rivers, lakes and the sea. 60 per cent of the wastewater treatment plants are overloaded and 38 per cent have been in operation for 25 to 30 years and need to be reconstructed. The deficit in the capacity of sewerage systems at present is more than 9 million cubic metres a day. 9,616 sewerage systems are in operation, but 44 towns (4 per cent) and 582 urban type settlements (27 per cent) still had no central sewerage system in 2002.[2]

Service provision by the private sector[edit]

In 2002, the Saint Petersburg utility signed a concession agreement for the Southwest wastewater treatment plant with a Swedish-Finnish consortium. Subsequently, the idea of a concession for the city's entire water and wastewater system was first floated in 2005. In paralle, a plan to bid out a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) contract for a water treatment plant was championed by the city governor Valentina Matvienko, but was abandoned in 2013. In the same year, the new city governor Georgy Poltavchenko announced plans to sign a 25-30 year concession agreement including investments of USD 3 billion. A tender is expected to be launched in 2014 "at the earliest". However, the concession may not be financially viable because Russian President Vladimir Putin has imposed a national water tariff freeze.[3]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Practicies of water resources management, water supply and sanitation in the Russian Federation
  3. ^ "Petersburg preps $3bn concession". Global Water Intelligence. December 2013.