The Irtysh-Karaganda Canal Waterworks facility number 9 is situated in the Osakarov district of the Karaganda region, close to the north-east edge of Molodezhny village, and 110 km from the regional centre.
The facility is part of a series of waterworks established along the course of an artificial canal taking water from the Irtysh river to provide a regular drinking water supply to Karaganda city. The correct functioning of the canal is ensured by a system of heavy-duty pumps transferring water uphill through a series of ponds. All reservoirs are surrounded by a 500 m wide 'sanitary zone', and separated by a mean distance of 6-7 km. The rather deep waterbody of facility no 9 has an elongated shape and is approximately 1.5 km long and 800 m wide. It is surrounded by an undulating plain. The landscape consists mainly of large areas of agriculturally improved dry steppe, with a few patches of alkali soils. The vegetation of the open steppe consists mainly of Festuca-Artemisa associations. The banks of the reservoir are covered by a dense but narrow belt of reeds, giving way at the dam to shoreline thickets of Elaeagnus sp. and Hipophae sp.
The site is used by large numbers and variety of waterbirds on passage. The most numerous are Coots, diving and surface-feeding ducks and several species of waders - Calidris ruficollis, Numenius arquata, Philomachus pugnax and Phalaropus lobatus. Each summer small flocks of Anser anser are present but breeding has not yet been confirmed. Podiceps cristatus, Bucephala clangula, Anas acuta, Anas platyrhynchos and Anas strepera are very numerous in autumn with numbers in the region of 25-30,000 birds.
Non-bird biodiversity: Several typical dry steppe carnivores occur in the area adjacent to the waterworks - Vulpes vupes, Vulpes corsac and Meles meles are common. The most numerous mammals, though, are Mustelids - weasel, stoat and pole-cat.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The major impact on the site is the periodic large-scale clearance of overgrown sections of the canal. There also also occasional fires.
Habitat and land use
The canal and associated waterworks, are maintained by the state. Unauthorised access to the area is forbidden.
The reservoir is used by a small corporate fishing enterprise for raising and harvesting commercial species of fish.
The compilers of this assessment express their appreciation of the excellent implementation of the scientific study carried out by Daniel Masur and Kati Sevke from Greifswald University.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Irtysh-Karaganda Waterworks 9. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 07/02/2023.