Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Water Level of Caspian Sea Falling at Accelerating Rate, Restricting Moscow’s Ability to Use Caspian Flotilla against Ukraine

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 23 – The water level of the Caspian Sea is falling at an accelerating rate, raising the specter not that that inland sea is going to go the way of the Aral anytime soon but rather that lower water levels will complicate the lives of littoral states and may make it far more difficult for Moscow to move its Caspian Flotilla to the Sea of Azov.

            A debate has been going on between Western specialists who see the level of the Caspian continuing to fall throughout the 21st century and Russian ones who argue that the current decline will be reversed in a decade or so (

            But there is no dispute about what is happening right now: The water level of the sea is falling and at record levels. In each of the last three years, that measure has been declining by more than 20 centimeters (eight inches), a falloff that is leading to siltification of shore areas and ports (

            According to the Coordinating Committee for Hydrometeorology of the Caspian Sea, the level of the sea is falling ever more rapidly, primarily as a result of the decline in the amount of water coming from Russia’s Volga River, potentially setting up new conflicts among the littoral states.

            Russian and Kazakhstan ports in the northern portions of the Caspian have been hit hardest, but those in the southern part soon will be. But the impact of falling water levels in the Caspian may hit Russia’s national security in an unexpected way: Moscow has been shifting back and forth its Caspian Flotilla from the Caspian to the Sea of Azov to pressure Ukraine.

            The Russian government has already been forced to turn to China and Iran for help in dredging the Volga. It may now need to have these countries involved in dredging the Caspian Sea as well. But unless it does so, it soon won’t be able to move the larger ships of the Caspian Flotilla out, something that will further reduce its naval presence opposite Ukraine.

            (On the Caspian Flotilla and Moscow’s use of it against Ukraine, see, and

No comments:

Post a Comment