Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Occupied Crimea Not Only Part of Ukraine Suffering from Water Shortages, Balabukh Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 27 – Because of Moscow’s complaints against Kyiv, the entire world knows that Russian-occupied Crimea is suffering from a serious water crisis (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/12/putin-says-fresh-water-supplies-under.html),  but few are aware that the rest of Ukraine is suffering from the same problem.

            Recognizing that reality is critical not only because of the problems declines in water supplies present to Ukraine now and in the future but also because these shortages both limit what Kyiv in principle might be able to agree on to help Crimea and what new problems Moscow would create if it launched a new military campaign to get water from Ukraine.

            Vera Balabukh, a climatologist at the Ukrainian Hydro-Meteorological Institute, says that the situation with regard to the availability of water in general and potable water in particular is becoming critical in many parts of Ukraine but especially in the eat as a result of human actions (apostrophe.ua/article/society/2020-12-25/v-ukraine-ischezaet-pitevaya-voda-pod-ugrozoy-mnogo-oblastey---klimatolog-vera-balabuh/37016).

            The climate is always changing, she notes; but now, as a result of human action, “we see happening in the course of a single generation that which earlier took place over the course of 500 years.” Our winters are shortening, our falls lengthening, and our climate shifting in the direction of the Mediterranean pattern.

            Until very recently, Balabukh says, experts in Ukraine talked about climate change only as something that would affect the situation in the far distant future. But now, she continues, they understand that this is “a very serious problem” here and now. In some places already, there isn’t enough potable water or even water for agriculture and industry.

            “In general,” she continues, “Ukraine is not very well supplied with potable water.” Climate change, which is accelerating, only make this situation worse because it is happening in Ukraine at “twice the rate” of the remainder of the planet.  There simply isn’t enough water anymore, and much of it is increasingly saline and thus not useful for human consumption.

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