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10 Jun. 2023

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Kakhovka Dam: is it possible to restore the reservoir and dam

Krieg
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Ukraine

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Kakhovka Dam: is it possible to restore the reservoir and dam

According to Ukrhydroenergo, Kakhovka Dam is completely destroyed and cannot be restored. But what do experts say? Learn more about the history of the reservoir and what the future holds for the dam

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The explosion of the Kakhovka Dam by russian troops has led to irreversible, catastrophic consequences that will affect people around the world. This once again proves that russia is a terrorist country that does not see any value even in human lives. We have written more about what is happening in the flooded areas here.


At the same time, the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant prompted people to discuss the future of the dam and reservoir. Let's figure out together whether it is possible to restore the HPP, what is needed for this, and whether it is reasonable, given the environmental component.


The history of the Kakhovka Dam construction: why people boycotted the creation of the reservoir


In 1950, the Soviet government issued a decree according to which a second hydroelectric power plant and, accordingly, a reservoir on the Dnipro River were to appear in Ukraine. The reason for this decision was the need to ensure high and stable crop yields in the arid regions of southern Ukraine. In addition, the authorities did not aim to provide electricity to local enterprises, particularly those operating in the metallurgical sector.




Read about why putin ordered the dam to be blown up here.


This was the beginning of the construction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant. According to the plan, the construction of the dam was supposed to take 6 years, but the involvement of many workers (about 25,000) allowed the construction to be completed earlier.




Despite ambitious goals for the development of the industrial and agricultural sectors, the construction of the Kakhovka HPP caused significant environmental damage. In particular, it resulted in the forced flooding of the Velykyi Luh protected area and dozens of coastal villages. It is also important to note that historically, both banks of the Dnipro River from Zaporizhzhia to Kherson belonged to the Zaporizhzhia Sich, and thus the creation of the reservoir led to irreversible losses of Ukraine's historical and cultural artifacts.


Thus, the actions of the Soviet government received a lot of criticism, as thousands of people became internally displaced, and the unique nature of that region turned into a swampy area that constantly bloomed and irritated the local population. The forced destruction of Ukraine's cultural heritage caused particular indignation.


So today, the issue of restoring the Kakhovka HPP has led to heated discussions in which environmentalists and politicians have categorically opposing views.


Environmentalists' opinion on the restoration of the destroyed Kakhovka Dam


Most experts agree that Ukraine has no right to lose the opportunity to restore the Velykyi Luh nature reserve, which was destroyed by the Soviet government 70 years ago. However, this raises the question of the need to find alternative ways to irrigate rural land, supply water to settlements and enterprises in the Dnipro region, and provide water to the Zaporizhzhia NPP. One such option is the construction of pumping stations on the Dnipro River.


In addition, environmentalists emphasize that most civilized countries have followed this path, destroying dams and restoring natural riverbeds. And the opportunity to restore an area of more than 200,000 hectares with a unique ecosystem that includes steppes, meadows, and floodplain forests is a much better prospect than the Kakhovka Sea.




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Opinion of Ukrainian authorities and energy system experts on the restoration of Kakhovka Dam


According to the CEO of Ukrhydroenergo, Ukraine has to build a new hydroelectric power plant after the de-occupation of the left-bank Kherson region, and today they are preparing the first design solutions that will allow them to block the destroyed part of the dam and provide water to the industrial and agricultural sectors. 


The issue of electricity supply in the country


In addition, the authorities are convinced that the Kakhovka HPP is a necessity, as it plays a significant role in providing electricity to the entire country. However, this statement caused a resonance in society, because for the past year and a half, the plant has not been supplying electricity to the unified system of the state, as it was not working due to the occupation by russian troops. This means that Ukraine's power system can operate stably without this source.


At the same time, experts from the Center for Energy Research emphasize that even though the power system has been stable during this time, Ukraine is in dire need of the Kakhovka HPP, as it will provide additional capacity to regulate electricity consumption in the system, while not harming the environment, as it is "clean energy."


Drinking water and exports from Ukraine


In addition, a separate argument for the restoration of the Kakhovka HPP is the critical need of the population of the southern part of Ukraine for fresh water, as the Dnipro cascade plays a major role in providing water to the region. They also point to the need to restore the hydroelectric facility to allow Ukrainian ships to enter the open sea. After all, the destruction of the Kakhovka lock made it virtually impossible to export goods from Ukraine.


So, the final decision on the restoration of the Kakhovka HPP has not yet been made, but the lion's share of arguments suggests that the destroyed dam is an important facility for Ukraine's economic and energy security.


We remind you, an operation to rescue people and animals in the areas flooded by the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant explosion is still underway in Ukraine. The Visit Ukraine team joined the mission to help the victims of another russian terrorist attack and launched an urgent collection to support our little four-legged friends who are in mortal danger.


Join the rescue of the affected animals by following the link, let's help save the lives of our defenseless friends together!




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