09:01 GMT +321 January 2020
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    The Moskva River is one of the city’s major natural attractions, winding through the Russian capital and affording tourists the opportunity to take boat tours to see some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Kremlin, Moscow State University, and the city’s elegant network of bridges.

    Residents of a district in southeastern Moscow have reported a serious shallowing of the Moskva River, with photos published on a local news group showing the river water levels retreating from their normal levels to reveal sand and rocks.

    The cause of the shallowing has yet to be determined, with the mayor’s office and other authorities yet to comment.

    However, some local residents suggested in the comments that the shallowing could have been the result of the closure of the gates of the Perervinsky waterworks further upstream to keep water levels steady in the center of Moscow.

    Residents of another district further upstream and to the northwest of Moscow confirmed that their section of the Moskva River was experiencing a similar shallowing.

    Jokers suggested that the water may have been removed from the river by authorities to manufacture some snow for the New Year holidays. Moscow, which is normally blanketed with a healthy layer of powder by this time of year, has been left barren for the first time in many years amid anomalous weather affecting wide swathes of central Russia.

    © Sputnik / Владимир Астапкович
    Unusually warm temperatures in Moscow, December 2019.

    The Moskva River is known to have experienced periods of low waterlines in the past, particularly in the late 19th century and early 20th century, as Moscow became a major industrial center and its population increased dramatically, causing serious strain on the river network.

    However, this problem was solved in the 1930s with the completion of the Moscow Canal, a 128 km long network featuring 8 locks, 3 concrete dams and 7 earthen dams connecting the Moskva River to the Volga Basin and subsequently allowing the city’s river system to maintain a healthy, permanent waterline.

    The Canal’s existence makes the shallowing witnessed in some areas of the city all the more perplexing.

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