Manych River

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Mouth Don River
Length 219 km (136 mi)
Basin area 35,400 km2 (13,700 sq mi)

The Manych (Russian: Маныч) is a river in the western and central part of the Kuma–Manych Depression in southern Russia.

A tributary of the Don, it is 219-kilometer (136 mi) long, with its source in Lake Manych-Gudilo in the southwestern part of the Republic of Kalmykia. It flows through the town of Proletarsk and joins the Don River in Manychskaya, east of the city of Rostov-on-Don.[1]

There are three reservoirs on the Manych, listed from upstream to downstream:[1]

The Proletarsk Dam is sufficiently high to raise the water level in Lake Manych-Gudilo upstream from it, so in fact the lake has become part of the Proletarsk Reservoir. The three reservoirs (and Lake Manych-Gudilo) form an almost continuous chain, the original course of the river being almost entirely flooded by them. According to the calculations of the Russian geographer Alexander Bazelyuk, merely 9.1 km of the length of the West Manych river remains in its original "river" (rather than reservoir form): 8.2 km from the Vesyolovsk Dam to the upper reaches of the Ust-Manych Reservoir, and 0.9 km from the Ust-Manych Dam to the river's fall into the Don.[2]

The common source[edit]

Formerly, the upper reaches of the West and East Manych were connected, at least in wet years or seasons. The Kalaus River, when reaching the thalweg of the Kuma–Manych Depression at 45°43′N 44°06′E / 45.717°N 44.100°E / 45.717; 44.100, would split: the left distributary, flowing north and then west, toward Lake Manych-Gudilo, would become the source of the West Manych, while the right distributary, flowing south and then east, would become the headwaters of the East Manych. During the 20th century, most of the water went into the eastern distributary, until it was dammed. Later, a solid dam was built at this point, preventing any water from flowing from the Kalaus into the East Manych, thus making the Kalaus the source of only the West Manych. [3]


Historically (prior to the construction of the dams and irrigation channels, i.e. until 1932-1940 for the West Manych, and until 1969 for the East Manych), both rivers were intermittent. During dry years, and even during the drier parts of normal years, both Manych Rivers would consist merely of a chain of small lakes or ponds with brackish or salty water. The system usually would be fully filled with fresh water only during the spring high water season.[3]

Since the mid-20th century both Manych Rivers receive significant amount of fresh water via a network of irrigation canals. Since 1948-53, the West Manych has been receiving water from the Kuban River (via the Nevinnomyssk Canal and the Yegorlyk River, a left tributary of the West Manych) and from the Tsimlyansk Reservoir on the Don River (via the Don Canal). Since the late 1960s, the East Manych has been receiving water from the Terek River and the Kuma River via the Kuma–Manych Canal. According to A. Bazelyuk's calculations, the annual water flow in the West Manych (measured at the Vesyoly township) is 8.3 times as high as it was previous to the canal and dam constructions, while that in the East Manych (measured at the Chogray Dam) is 4.3 times as high as before.[3]

If the plans for the proposed Eurasia Canal, linking the Caspian Sea with the Black Sea, are ever implemented, it will likely follow the Manych valley in its central and western section.


  1. ^ a b West Manych (Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences) (Russian)
  2. ^ Alexander A. Bazelyuk (А.А. Базелюк ), "Changes in the hydrographic network of river basins. The West and East Manych in the 19-20th centuries". In: "Proceedings of the International Scientific and Practical Conference on the Preservation of the Wetlands Biodiversity and Sustainable Use of the Biological Resources of the Steppe Zone", Rostov-na-Donu, 2007. (Russian)
  3. ^ a b c Alexander Anatolievich Bazelyuk (Базелюк Александр Анатольевич), "АНТРОПОГЕННОЕ ИЗМЕНЕНИЕ ГИДРОГРАФИЧЕСКОЙ СЕТИ КУМО-МАНЫЧСКОЙ ВПАДИНЫ" (Anthropogenic changes in the Hydrographic Network of the Kuma-Manych Depression), summary of the Cand. Sci. dissertation. Rostov-na-Donu, 2007. (Russian)