Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Russian-Occupied Crimea Rapidly Running Out of Water, Imposing Constraints on Moscow Now and Kyiv Later

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 14 – Russian-occupied Crimea is rapidly running out of water, with Russian experts saying that current reserves are sufficient only for the next 18 months and Ukrainian ones suggesting that the peninsula will face crippling economic consequences and even water rationing as soon as early next year.

            The causes of this looming tragedy include the destruction of the Kakhovka dam and the reservoir behind it, the blocking of water coming into the peninsula from the canal system, and declining underground water levels and then of reservoirs in Crimea because of the drought, experts from both countries agree (

            None of the Russian plans to address the problem have been realized. Most have not even been started because of costs. And even Ukrainian experts say that if Kyiv retakes the peninsula, it may be as much as three and a half years and require more than 13 billion US dollars before Crimea will see water available at the amount it was before the Russian occupation.

            The looming water crisis is so large that it may have an impact on decision making in both Moscow and Kyiv concerning Russia’s continuing occupation of the peninsula and Ukraine’s ability to retake it and then save it from what has been the deleterious impact of Russia’s presence there.   


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