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15 Jun. 2023

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Consequences of the Kakhovka Dam explosion: what happens to cities and industrial facilities left without water

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Consequences of the Kakhovka Dam explosion: what happens to cities and industrial facilities left without water

Cities that suffer almost daily from russian missile attacks are now also trying to survive without water. Find out what is happening in the settlements affected by the draining of the Kakhovka reservoir

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Due to a russian terrorist attack on a hydroelectric power plant, the water level in the Kakhovka reservoir has fallen below the critical mark. Today, where a week ago there was the Kakhovka Sea, there is only sand, mines and barges that are unlikely to ever be launched again.


The drop in water levels has led to the shutdown of pumps that pumped water to the settlements of Dnipropetrovs'k region, putting about a million Ukrainians at risk. Nikopol and Pokrovsky districts have already been left without water supply, and Kryvyi Rih, a city of 700,000 people, is trying to survive on reserves that will last for several weeks at best.


It should be noted that this is not the first environmental and humanitarian disaster created by the russian federation. In 2022, they left Mykolaiv without water. We wrote about how the city lives without clean water in the second year of the war here.


So how are the towns in the Dnipropetrovs'k region living and dealing with the terrible consequences of russia's terrorist attack?


A blow to Ukraine's industrial sector


Dnipropetrovs'k region is one of the main industrial centers of Ukraine, with many factories. And russia is doing its best to destroy the region's industrial sector. Throughout the full-scale invasion, russian troops have been firing missiles at the plants, and now they have almost made it impossible for them to operate due to the lack of water.


Today, pipe plants in Dnipropetrovs'k region are experiencing the least shortage of industrial water because they have a closed cycle of use, which is not the case with other industrial facilities.


The Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant cannot operate without a centralized water supply. In addition, due to russian attacks, production volumes in the first quarter of this year were reduced by 2.2 times compared to 2022. Now this figure will drop to an even more critical level.


The Dnipro Poultry Plant, whose products are sold all over Ukraine, is at risk of ceasing to exist altogether. It is one of the largest customers of the Nikopol water utility, and water is the main resource at the factory. It is involved in every production process, from poultry rearing to compliance with sanitary standards.

Bakeries were also at risk, as process water is an important resource for them.


Industrial enterprises in Kryvyi Rih were forced to reduce production, as operating at full capacity would leave hundreds of thousands of people without water, exhausting all available reserves. In particular, one of Ukraine's largest steel plants stopped steelmaking and rolled steel production to buy time and save water.


Agricultural enterprises also risk losing a significant portion of their crops, as irrigation using water from the Kakhovka reservoir is no longer possible. And natural irrigation cannot cover the deficit, as it rains extremely rarely in the southern part of Ukraine.




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How do people survive without centralized water supply?


Municipal water utilities have managed to fill reservoirs and organize the opening of water distribution points, but the amount of water is limited. For example, in Marganets, 20 liters of water per person are distributed per day, and in Nikopol, 10 liters per person. 


Obviously, this is not enough in the heat of summer, as there are no other sources of water available. People need water for cooking, washing, watering gardens, livestock and other technical needs.

At the same time, there is no shortage of drinking water on store shelves. Suppliers have provided the region with purified water.


It is worth noting that small businesses are also under threat. Neither restaurants, nor car washes, nor farmers can operate in the absence of industrial water.


When will water be available in Dnipropetrovska oblast?


Kryvyi Rih still has about 1.5 months to resolve the issue of water supply, but only if reserves are used economically. The Pokrovsk and Nikopol communities are running out of time, as they do not have such reserves.


The last hope for the region was the powerful water intakes located in the old Dnipro riverbed, as they are at great depth and could theoretically pump water even if the reservoir level dropped by another meter and a half. However, the powerful current caused significant silt flows and disabled the intakes. Today, the equipment is no longer usable and needs either major repairs or complete replacement.


The Ukrainian government has allocated UAH 1.5 billion to provide water to the affected areas. However, there are no specifics on how the local authorities are using these funds, as they risk being left without any water supply options by disclosing this information. After all, we know about russia's unhealthy commitment to targeting critical infrastructure. At the same time, there have been hints online that construction of some systems has already begun.


But despite the harsh conditions, Dnipropetrovs'k region is holding on and trying to restore water supply to the region as soon as possible. The local authorities are confident that they will be able to provide water to people and businesses. However, the issue of the costs that the region will have to incur as a result of the russian terrorist attack is still relevant.


We would like to remind you that the Visit Ukraine team continues to collect urgent funds to save animals in Kherson region. Our little friends are unable to save their lives on their own in the flooded areas, so they need our help. In addition, the most urgent issue is to provide the rescued animals, which were taken to safer regions, with food, shelter and medical care.


Please join the collection by following the link. The lives of those who are defenseless in the face of russian aggression depend on us!




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