Posted 24 сентября 2021,, 17:42

Published 24 сентября 2021,, 17:42

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:36

Moldova protests: Ukrainian hydroelectric power plants on the Dniester will deprive people of drinking water

Moldova protests: Ukrainian hydroelectric power plants on the Dniester will deprive people of drinking water

24 сентября 2021, 17:42
Фото: Яндекс.Дзен
Despite the protests of the official Chisinau, Ukraine stubbornly continues the construction of a cascade of hydroelectric power stations on the Dniester.

Environmentalists are sounding the alarm: the river on the territory of Moldova has turned into a stagnant swamp, people are about to be left without drinking water. The military is asking the question: isn't it time to restore justice by force?

Sergey Kron

The Dniester River, originating in the Carpathians, flows through western Ukraine, then crosses the border with Moldova and continues along the border with Transnistria, and in the lower reaches it again carries its waters through Ukraine, where it flows into the Black Sea.

The ancient Scythians called the Dniester "border river". They loved her not only for the rapid flow and depth, but also for the transparency, purity and abundance of fish.

It is even difficult to imagine if the prediction of environmentalists will come true and the Dniester will disappear or become shallow so that it will look like a stinking river like its tributaries - Bull, Reut, etc. And the situation with water supply in Moldova, Transnistria and the Odessa region of Ukraine will become catastrophic. Since the beginning of the 19th century, Odessa had a problem with access to normal drinking water. Now the region is facing a real disaster.

In 2016, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers decided to build six new hydroelectric power plants on the Dniester - in Ivanovo-Frankivsk, Ternopil and Chernivtsi regions. Experts estimate the cost of the project at 1.1 billion euros. Thus, the Ukrainian authorities want to reduce their dependence on Russian gas and Donetsk coal, which are still used by many enterprises in the country.

Environmentalists, by the way, have repeatedly expressed concern that over the past two years, the Ukrainian side has avoided discussing the problem, referring to the difficult situation in the country.

But Chisinau almost immediately offered Kiev a draft of technical rules for the operation of facilities. Moldova still demands to establish a minimum water flow throughout the year, taking into account the European standards reflected in the Association Agreement with the European Union and in the European Energy Charter. Ukrainians seemed to agree with this and even conducted a study on the impact

HPP on the Dniester ecosystem and the environment. Having received the results of the work of the specialists, Kiev chose not to dwell on this and continued construction with renewed vigor.

The Moldovans did not remain silent. Having carried out their own expertise in the framework of the transboundary project HydroEcoNex, scientists have come to an unambiguous conclusion: the Ukrainian hydroelectric power plants already operating on the Dniester "are leading to the destruction of the river".

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, project participant, corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova Yelena Zubkova said that currently one of the world's largest hydropower complexes has been built on the Dniester, and it could cause "irreparable damage to the river and two neighboring countries."

As reported in a recent report by UN experts, since the start of the construction of the hydroelectric power station, the maximum water level in the Dniester has decreased by 30%, and its volume - by 10%. The average water temperature in the cold season increased by 5 ° С, while the temperature in the warm season decreased by 7.5 ° С. Already today, process water is supplied to the Moldovan part of the river from the turbines of the Novodnistrovskaya HPP.

“Hydro-construction for any river brings a disruption to its ecosystem and loss of biodiversity, and for the population - the loss of many ecosystem services”, - explained Ilya Trombitsky, Doctor of Biology, Head of the Association of the Keepers of the Dniester Eco-Tiras, to DW. According to him, this is the loss of most local fish species in a vast area, the disappearance of sandy beaches and siltation of the river, the deterioration of its self-cleaning ability, which means an increase in fees for water treatment for drinking needs, late ripening of vegetables and fruits, the inability to develop tourism due to unattractiveness of the river and its banks.

As the expert noted, a recent assessment of environmentalists showed that due to the hydroelectric power station, the Dniester loses more than one cubic kilometer of water annually. According to Trombitsky, scientists, if Ukraine until 2026 implements a plan to build six more hydroelectric power plants in the flat part of the upper Dniester, the situation on the river will worsen significantly.

In addition to dehydrating an entire country, the Ukrainian project will affect the very energy sector of Moldova. The head of the public organization "Ecospectrum" from the Transnistrian city of Bender, Ivan Ignatiyev, said this in an interview with Deutsche Wellе. From his point of view, the HPP cascade in the upper reaches of the river will affect the stability of the operation of the Dubossary HPP located below. It provides electricity to 80% of consumers in Transnistria, where, according to the 2015 census, more than 475 thousand people live.

Director of the Chisinau Center for Strategic Research and Political Consulting Politicon Anatol Tsaranu told reporters: “For Moldova, the Dniester is an important waterway. Moreover, it is a serious environmental problem, the solution of which without taking into account the interests of Moldova is explosive”.

It is interesting that representatives of non-governmental organizations from three regions of Ukraine, where it is planned to build a hydroelectric power station, also wrote complaints to Kiev. They are concerned about the intention of President Zelensky to build a cascade of hydroelectric power plants on the territory of four (!) Nature reserves of national importance.

“By creating reservoirs around the hydroelectric power station, you will flood, not only cities and villages, but the natural resources of Ukraine will go under the water”, - the public pleaded with the water builders.

As Ukrainian media reported, in response, the Kiev authorities launched a wide propaganda campaign, trying to convince opponents of the construction of the hydroelectric power station to change their position and not to raise a fuss about this problem. The main argument by which they justify their actions is the expected cheapness of electricity, which will be provided by hydroelectric power plants.

Moldovan MP Elena Bodnarenko recalled in izite president Maia Sandu to Kiev. As announced in the Moldovan press, during the visit it was planned to touch upon the construction of a hydroelectric power station on the Dniester. However, at the end of the meeting, “not a word was said about these problems”, - said the chairman of the parliamentary commission on the environment.

Everything is very simple to explain. An official representative of the Moldovan Ministry of Ecology denied information about the shallowing of the Dniester because of the Ukrainian hydroelectric power plants. “This information is not scientifically substantiated,” the officials insist. “The current lowering of the water level in the river is a normal situation for this time of year. This process is due to the small amount of precipitation in late summer and early autumn".

It turns out that the presidents of Moldova and Ukraine agreed to conduct a study of the influence of the hydroelectric power station on the Dniester, and, as they now do, they asked for financial assistance from the European Union.

Commenting on the information of the Ministry of Ecology, at the request of DW, ecologist, Doctor of Sciences Roman Korobov noted with reference to numerous studies that the seasonal shallowing of the river was always observed, but in general “climate changes have little effect on the Dniester runoff”. Problems, in his opinion, are still created by hydroelectric power plants. Hydroelectric power plants should not be put at the forefront. You can find other sources of energy - the sun, for example. But there is no alternative to water, expert Korobov is convinced.

Seeing such a disregard for the river, biologist Ilya Trombitsky warned: “All your conversations are empty business! The active dying of the Dniester delta, which is under the protection of the European Union within the framework of the Convention on Wetlands, will soon begin. Then we'll see who was right!".