Last week, business daily Vedomosti.ru reported on a study performed by the Russian Engineers’ Association on the state of Russian public services infrastructure, which found that as much as 11 percent of all households in urban areas do not have running water, while almost 20 percent of them don’t have hot water. Even more worrying than this disturbing snapshot is the Association’s estimation on the condition of the existing infrastructure – almost 70 percent of the communal water, gas and electricity networks are worn out. The study analyzed the condition of the communal infrastructure in 164 cities in the Russian Federation and found that the cities in the immediate vicinity of Moscow are better off than the rest of the country, including Moscow itself and St. Petersburg.
The Russian Engineers’ Association claims that cities like Lubertsy, Pushkino, Krasnogorsk, Podolsk, Odincov, Balashika and others offer the best combination of infrastructure quality and penetration. For example, the city of Lubertsy boasts 14 kilometers of heating infrastructure, 16 kilometers of water supply and sewage infrastructure and 12 kilometers of gas supply infrastructure per each square kilometer of city’s surface. The leading cities are also much better off than the average in terms of infrastructure condition: only 34 percent of heating infrastructure and 25 percent of water supply infrastructure is considered to be worn out, while the average for the Moscow region is around 50 percent.
While it is not surprising that the youngest cities with relatively recent construction projects have the best quality of communal infrastructure, those that have not been to Moscow or St. Petersburg might be surprised that the two capitals are not among the top ten cities according to infrastructure quality. For the sake of comparison, the length of gas supply infrastructure in Moscow is 7 kilometers per square kilometer of city surface, while the length of heating and water supply infrastructure is 8 and 3.5 kilometers, respectively. The average infrastructure deterioration in Moscow is quite low, though, with 19 percent, while the respective estimate for St. Petersburg is around 30 percent.
According to the Russian Statistical Bureau, at the beginning of 2012 as many as 29.2 million inhabitants lived in households with no running water, while 47.1 million people had no hot water supply. The lowest percentage of households fully supplied with infrastructure was registered in the Republic of Altai – 13.2 percent.