They made an engineering decision – to block the Dolgaya river flowing from the lake with a dam, and thereby raise the water level. It was built in 1943. The base of the dam, 18.5 meters high, was permafrost. The water consumption of the combine increased from 20 thousand cubic meters to 130 thousand by the end of the decade.
Since 1949, the Norilskaya river has been the main water supplier of the city and the combine. But Dolgoye lake was nevertheless included in the drinking water supply scheme until the end of the 1970s.
In the 1950s, experts sounded the alarm: on the shores of the lake, in a zone of strict sanitation, there were individual buildings that were not connected to sewage networks, whose residents kept pigs, there were also public cowsheds and even a dump of contaminated snow.
At the same time, in summer, lake Dolgoye was a favorite place for recreation and water sports. In the summer of 1958, even a boat station with a berth for 40 boats started working on the banks. In the 1960s, there was a real city beach with changing cabins.
Rescuers were also on duty at Dolgoye. But despite their efforts, drunk bathers regularly drowned there. Norilsk residents also went in for water sports: they went sailing and kayaking, water skiing, windsurfing, the ‘pinniped’ members of the Norilsk submariners’ club dived into the depths.
Then Dolgoye lake was deleted both from the water supply scheme and from the list of recreational places. It became a technological reservoir of CHPP-1. For years it’s been a cooling pond, where hot water has been drained for cooling.
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Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive