The problem of access to drinking water is one of the most pressing issues in the Crimea. The sources which are exploited in Crimea, have been stored for years. There is, in fact, uncontrolled extraction of drinking water; wells are drilled, and it`s leading to ecological disaster, including the flash of unique soil.
Such assessment was given by an ideologue of the project ‘Free Crimea’ Taras Berezovets. He said these words during the discussion, organized jointly with the project ‘Free Crimea’, in the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
An executive director of the Ukrainian Society for Protection of Birds Oleg Dudkin said: ‘Drinking water is limited, and it is at that depth, where it is not desirable to be output’. He underlined that Ukraine provided 85% of the needs of the Crimea in fresh water through the North Crimean Canal, connecting the main channel of the Dnipro with the peninsula. After the annexation of the Crimea by Russia in March 2014, the supply of water to the peninsula stopped.
Changes in the ecosystem have occurred since mid-2014. The executive director of the Ukrainian Society for Protection of Birds said: ‘Fresh waters of the Dnipro, previously available for the peninsula, essentially desalinated Siwash lake, and the wetland complex of birds, which has been formed for three decades, can’t live on the peninsula, in the absence of fresh water. As of June 2015 the main colonies of birds have disappeared.
Oleg Dudkin added: ‘7 species of Crimean herons migrated to Odessa, Kherson, Mykolayiv and Zaporizhzhya regions, and the load on the freshwater wetlands of these regions of Ukraine has significantly increased’.
The salinity of drinking water has increased due to unauthorized drilling of wells. The representative of the project ‘Free Crimea’ Roman Ostapchuk said: ‘In 2014 the salinity of the water has increased two and a half times, and this year – 0.5. This will lead to the fact that artesian water, which is in the Crimea, will become unusable soon’.
The problem of dumps is also an acute one. Only 23 of the 269 landfills are official. The mass of debris on the peninsula is 53 million cubic meters.
Another environmental issue is the development of quarry rubble at the foot of Karadag mouuntain. Extraction takes place in spite of the fact that the extraction of natural resources in the reserve is prohibited.
Regarding the problem of drinking water in the occupied Crimea, according to Taras Berezovets, the idea of limiting the resources of Crimea was erroneous. He said: ‘It is more correct to deliver all resources but at world prices. In this case, the Russian Federation would pay an economic price for the damage caused to Ukraine. However, according to Oleg Dudkin, Ukraine was ready to supply water, but the Crimean government refused further negotiations due to financial issues. In addition, the expert said that with the annexation of the Crimea 21 sites of national importance and nature reserve fund, which had been administered from Kiev, had gone to the federal Office of the Russian Federation. It only led to the deterioration of the situation.
Full video of discussion is available here.