Crimea running out of water due to annexation, looks for water sources

The dry Northern Crimean Canal, which used to supply Crimea with water, is seen on April 27, 2014. After Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, Ukraine stopped to supply the peninsula with water. By 2020, the shortage of water in Crimea became critical.

The situation with water supply in Ukraine’s Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula is becoming more critical as the Russian occupation government is looking for new water sources.

Before Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014, the peninsula received 85 percent of its water from the Ukrainian mainland through the North Crimean Canal. After the annexation Ukrainian authorities built a dam to cut off water supplies to Crimea.

Sevastopol’s Russian occupation government said on July 24 that it was looking for underground water sources to make up for the lost supplies.

In June Mikhail Razvozhaev, head of the city’s occupation government, said that water resources in the reservoir had fallen by half compared to last year. He said the city could start rationing water.

Russian and Ukrainian media have reported that the Chornorichenske water reservoir, the major source of water supply for Russian-occupied Sevastopol, and the adjacent rivers are becoming more shallow.

As a result of the annexation, water supplies used for irrigation fell by 40 times from 520.7 million cubic meters in 2013 to 13 million cubic meters in 2015 in Crimea.

The area of Crimea’s irrigated areas dropped from 140,000 hectares in 2013 to 11,000 hectares in 2015.

The North Crimean Canal was built in the 1960s to 1980s and became the main source of water for the peninsula’s agriculture, which thrived as a result. The canal linked Crimea with the Kakhovske water reservoir on the Dnieper River.

Currently, Crimea uses 23 water reservoirs instead of the canal.

Meanwhile, in February David Arakhamia, head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s faction in parliament, said that water supplies could be resumed from Ukraine to Crimea if Russia withdraws its troops from the Donbas.

The statement triggered a backlash from society, and Arakhkamia later backtracked, while Zelensky’s office said it was Arakhamia’s personal opinion.

(c)KYIV POST 2020

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