Water reservoirs depleted in Crimea, citizens cannot access safe freshwater

Crimean Tatars
Canan Kevser
09 March 2021, 11:38
Canan Kevser
09 March 2021, 11:38

The water reservoirs providing the needs of large cities in the occupied Crimea are rapidly disappearing, and Crimean residents have problems with access to safe freshwater.

About a dozen large water reservoirs in Crimea have become shallow or completely depleted, Radio Free Europe/Crimea Realities platform reports.

The first significant problems with the water arose in the occupied city of Simferopol and nearby areas in the summer of 2020. Against the background of depletion of reservoirs, Simferopol city and its district have been receiving water according to the schedule – for three hours in the morning and the evening – since September 2020.

In previous years, Simferopol city and the nearest populated localities were supplied with water from three reservoirs: Ayanske, Simferopolske and Partyzanske. However, water in these reservoirs fell to critical levels in the autumn.

After some time, a water supply schedule was introduced in Bakhchisaray town and Bakhchisaray district. In order to provide Simferopol with water, the occupiers involved regular troops, who laid a pipeline and pumped water from the Tayhanske and Bilohirske reservoirs, as well as the local Biyuk-Karasu River.

The Simferopolske and Zahirske reservoirs were completely depleted (which supplied water to Yalta town along with the Shchaslyvenske reservoir). The occupation authorities already warned that the reserves of Zahirske and Shchaslyvenske reservoirs would be enough for a maximum of three months, so an environmental disaster is looming.

Critically low water volume is stored in the Izobilnenske reservoir, which supplies water to Alushta town. In February, 2.8 million cubic meters of water remained in the reservoir with its total volume of 12.6 million cubic meters.

About Water Crisis of Crimea

Until 2014, Ukraine provided 85% of Crimea’s freshwater needs through the North Crimean Canal, which connects the Dnieper River with the peninsula. 

After Russia had illegally occupied Crimea, water supplies to Crimea were cut off.

Five rivers supplying fresh water to reservoirs for drinking water on the peninsula dried up as a whole: Kacha, Alma, Chernaya, Belbek, Tonas rivers.

Since August 2020, the occupation authorities introduced severe restrictions on water consumption in several districts of Crimea.

Currently, water reserves on the peninsula are replenished from reservoirs and underground sources.

According to Crimean environmentalists, regular use of underground sources leads to salinization of soil.

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has repeatedly stated the need for its experts to enter the occupied peninsula blocked by Russia. The mission also declared that Russia has the primary responsibility for ensuring the water supply of the territory it occupied.