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Belarus is part of:
Eastern Europe · Europe & CIS ·
Water Basins of Belarus:
Daugava-Zapadnaya Dvina · Dnieper · Narva · Neman · Vistula-Wista · Volga ·
Facts & Figures edit
Capital Minsk
Neighbouring Countries Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine
Total Area 207,600 km2
  - Water 0 km2 (0.00%) / 0 m2/ha
  - Land 207,600 km2
Coastline 0 km
Population 9,755,106 (47 inhab./km2)
HDIA 0.817 (2007)
Gini CoefficientA 29.7 (1995)
Nominal GDPB $57,680 million
GDP (PPP) Per CapitaB $12,000
National UN Presence UNDP, UNHCR, WHO, UNICEF, WB
Land UseC
  - Cultivated Land 56,821 km2 (27.37%)
     - Arable 55,575 km2 (26.77%)
     - Permanent Crops 1,246 km2 (0.6%)
     - Irrigated 1,310 km2
  - Non cultivated 42 km2 (72.63%)
Average Annual RainfallD 618 mm
Renewable Water ResourcesE 58 km3
Water WithdrawalsF 2.79 km3/yr
  - For Agricultural Use 30%
  - For Domestic Use 23%
  - For Industrial Use 47%
  - Per Capita 278 m3
Population with safe access to
  - Improved Water Source 100%
     - Urban population 100%
     - Rural population 100%
  - Improved Sanitation 84%
     - Urban population 93%
     - Rural population 61%
References & Remarks
A UNDP Human Development Report
B CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia
C CIA World Factbook Country Profiles
D Aquastat - FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture
E CIA World Factbook
F Earthtrends

> Articles | Projects & Case studies | Publications & Web resources | Who is who | Maps
> Sector Assessment | Sector Coordination | Donor Profile

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Type & Date Short Description Link
SEP 30 2008 New Water & Sanitation Project approved by World Bank FIND OUT MORE

Country Profile: Climate, Geography, Socio-Economic Context

Country Profile: Water Bodies and Resources

Belarus has over 20,000 rivers and creeks totaling 91,000 kilometres in length and about 11,000 lakes, 470 of them exceed an area of over 0.5 square kilometres each. Water bodies cover 2 percent of the country's area. Over half of Belarusian water resources (56 percent) account for the Black Sea basin, the remaining fraction for the Baltic Sea basin. The rivers of Prypyat, Dnipro, Neman, Berezina and Western Dvina and also the Dnieper-Bug Canal are most critical for navigation. There have been 145 water storage reservoirs built in Belarus. The total length of the rivers within the catchment areas of the Black Sea and Baltic sea constitutes 90,6 thou km. If we imagine all the rivers as one blue band it could engird our planet twice.

The total water resources of the country amount to 56,2 km3 a year. Our largest lakes are: Naroch (80 km2) and Osveyskoye (52,8 km2). All major rivers are transboundary. The Dnieper and West Dvina originate in Russia, flow through Belarus and roll their waters to the Ukraine and Latvia correspondingly. After having come from the Ukraine the Pripyat passes through Belarus and returns to the Ukraine. The West Bug flowing-in from the Ukraine serves a State border line between Belarus and Poland, while the Viliya and the Neman flow to Lithuania from Belarus.

Water resources are one of Belarus’ largest natural assets but are often affected by cross-border pollution. For example, the Dnieper river flows across heavily industrialized and urbanized areas of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. Due to high levels of pollution, 40% of the drinking water taken from the Dnieper in Belarus and Russia does not meet water quality requirements. As a result, many plant and animal species are becoming extinct. UNDP’s regional GEF project has assisted Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine in developing coordinated approaches to manage the environment surrounding the Dnieper River basin. The project has produced a Strategic Action Program, which will serve as a key mechanism for cross-border river basin management with the objective of protecting international waters locally and regionally. The document has already been approved by the governments of Ukraine and Belarus, and an intergovernmental agreement is being drafted to make the SAP official.

Water in the Economy of Belarus

Although Belarus has enough water to meet its current and future needs, its water resources are susceptible to pollution from economic activities. These include extensive agriculture, environmentally unjustified techniques for waterlogged-area drainage and utilization of reclaimed entities, misuse of pesticides and fertilizers, waste-borne pollution. All of these practices drastically affect natural waters and aquatic ecosystems. The water situation is aggravated by mismanagement and a lack of public participation in environmental issues as well as a lack of effective legal and economic tools to encourage environmental activities.

Man-made water systems are: Berezinskaya system connects the West Dvina River with the Dnieper, two connecting channels: the Dnieper-Bug one and Oginsky, and Vileisko-Minskaya water system that satisfies the needs in water of the capital city of the Republic.

Water regime of the rivers in Belarus is determined by spring tide and freezing periods. Spring tide is the most important phase. The height of the tide over the normal (low-water) water stage on the major rivers amounts to 8,6 - 12,8 m, and on medium-size and small ones - about two times lower. The high water period on the rivers lasts 30 - 120 days. Spring tide on the rivers alternates with summer and autumn low water when water levels reach the lowest points. Rivers freeze for 80 - 140 days starting from the second decade of November. In severe winters some small rivers can freeze through for up to 4,5 months, while in mild winters rivers do not freeze up.

Country Profile: Legal and Institutional Environment

Country Profile: Water Sector Coordination

See Sector coordination sub-page for detailed description

Country Profile: Trends in Water Use, Management and Sanitation

The history of drainage in Belarus dates back to the second half of the eighteenth century in the then Polish state. On huge private estates, marshes were drained to turn them into meadows, mainly by open canals. In the final quarter of the nineteenth century, large-scale drainage works were carried out in the Polesye region, where about 4,700 kilometres of canals were built with an average depth of 1.1 metre. These works were also intended to facilitate wood exploitation and the floating of timber down to Ukraine. By the mid-1990's over 3 million hectares had been drained for agricultural purposes. Currently, the total length of the irrigation and drainage network exceeds 800 000 kilometres, which is almost nine times the total length of the natural rivers in the country. Unlike most countries with a strong agricultural base, irrigation is not prominent. All irrigation takes place on land that has been excessively drained. In fact, there is no real need for irrigation, except in areas where the groundwater has been lowered too much by excessive drainage.

Daily consumption of drinking water per capita in Belarus grew from 184 liters in 1990 to 219 in 2002, while in Minsk City the average consumption of water of drinking quality per person exceeds 350 liters a day. This is considerably higher than the amounts of water consumption in the majority of countries in Western Europe (120-150 liters a day). Despite Belarusians' broad access to water, the reliability and safety of town supply systems are not satisfactory due to capacity problems and insufficient measures to maintain water systems in working order.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, in 1999 about 30 percent of the samples taken in towns and about 50 percent of the samples taken in rural areas did not meet established sanitary standards. Each resident of Belarus consumes daily about 200 liters of water, while, in West European countries the per-capita consumption of water amounts to just 135 litres a day.

With regards to transboundary water management, since 1992, some agreements with Poland have been reached on water quality issues and navigation on the Western Bug River. However, Belarus has not succeeded in reaching an agreement with neighbouring countries on sharing water from international rivers.

Country Profile: Challenges and Opportunities


Recently updated articles on Belarus
  1. Belarus/articles ‎(1,074 views) . . WikiBot
  2. Belarus/projects ‎(1,649 views) . . WikiBot
  3. Belarus/publications ‎(1,196 views) . . WikiBot
  4. Belarus/who is who ‎(1,124 views) . . WikiBot
  5. Belarus/Maps ‎(1,185 views) . . WikiBot
  6. Situation in Eastern Europe and Russia ‎(12,334 views) . . WikiBot
  7. International Water Forum 2006 in Minsk ‎(2,667 views) . . Juerg.staudenmann

See the complete list of WaterWiki articles on Belarus

Projects and Case Studies

Projects in or about Belarus

(this is a list of the 15 most recently updated entries. To see all projects click here)

  1. Sustainable management of shared water resources in the upper Pripyat basin ‎(1,443 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. UNEP - Sustainable Use of the Mesozoic Transboundary Aquifer System in the Bug River Basin (Belarus, Poland, Ukraine) ‎(2,582 views) . . WikiBot
  3. “Capacity Building for Development of Youth Movement to International Waters, Landscape and Biodiversity Protection”, Belarus ‎(27,913 views) . . WikiBot
  4. Pripyat's riverside Project, Belarus ‎(2,299 views) . . WikiBot
  5. Implementation of The Dnipro Basin Strategic Action Program for the reduction of persistent toxics pollution ‎(2,711 views) . . WikiBot
  6. Implementation of Priority Interventions of the Dnipro Basin Strategic Action Program: Chemical Industrial Pollution Reduction and The Development of Joint Institutional Arrangements ‎(3,032 views) . . WikiBot
  7. Implementation of Urgent Recommendations of the Management Plans for Key Biodiversity Areas in Belarus ‎(2,811 views) . . WikiBot

Case studies in or about Belarus

(by popularity)

  1. Belarus - Management plans for key biodiversity areas ‎(40,053 views) . . WikiBot

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented projects in Belarus


5 most recently updated publications on Belarus
  1. HDR 2003, Human Capacity of Belarus: Economic Challenges and Social Responses ‎(3,047 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. Belarus Environmental Performance Review ‎(3,703 views) . . Katy.norman
  3. 2006 Annual Report on UN Chernobyl Coordination ‎(4,499 views) . . WikiBot

5 most popular publications on Belarus
  1. 2006 Annual Report on UN Chernobyl Coordination ‎(4,499 views) . . WikiBot
  2. Belarus Environmental Performance Review ‎(3,703 views) . . Katy.norman
  3. HDR 2003, Human Capacity of Belarus: Economic Challenges and Social Responses ‎(3,047 views) . . Katy.norman

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented publications on Belarus

Who is Who

People working in Belarus
  1. Lubomyr.Markevych ‎(1,150 views)
  2. Dmitry.goloubovsky ‎(1,428 views)
  3. Alexander.levchenko ‎(3,845 views)
  4. Alexander Kozulin ‎(3,311 views)

See the complete list of Waterwiki users working in Belarus

Organizations working in Belarus

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See the complete list of WaterWiki documented organizations in Belarus


See also

External Resources

Country information on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus

Basic facts about Belarus on the SIDA website

Article about the launch of the international decade "Water for Life" in Belarus

Belarus National Human Development Reports

Belarus country page on the UNEP/GRID-Arendal portal

The WB: Belarus country page, environmental profile

New Water and Sanitation Project recently approved by World Bank

CIA World Factbook Belarus

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