Prominent Ukrainian hydrogeologist, Ph.D., Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Ecology and Life Safety Ivan Zalessky appealed to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and authorized employees of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in connection with the information campaign launched by Russia regarding the cso called “humanitarian catastrophe “ in Crimea.
I.I. Zalessky declares that he, as the scientist who has devoted his entire life to the hydrogeology of Ukraine, cannot hear the arguments of the occupation authorities in Crimea about the alleged “acute shortage of water resources to provide the population”. In fact, the scientist claims, even before the attempt of annexation of Crimea, the complex of geological survey work was carried out, which confirmed the theoretical calculations that “the water resources of the Crimea exceed the current needs of the peninsula, but they are not evenly distributed and are not used rationally”.
The actions of the Russian authorities to provide Crimea with water, according to I.I. Zalessky, were “expectant” in nature. Allegedly, “Ukraine would “come to its senses” and restart the supply of Dnieper water to the North Crimean Canal”, that was built in the 20th century as an irrigation hydraulic structure to meet exclusively the needs of agriculture and partly industry. Indeed, over time, up to 20 % of the canal’s water began to be used for household and drinking water supply to cities and rural settlements of Crimea, but at the same time replenishing the canal from local underground and aboveground sources.
Ivan Zalessky refers to the statistics of the occupiers in 2015, according to which the total volume of water intake in Crimea amounted to 253.46 million cubic meters, including from surface sources – 138.47 millions and groundwater – 95.13 millions. At the same time, there were no statements about “lack of water for the population”, these volumes significantly exceed the population’s water needs. According to such statistics, as of 2019, “the explored and estimated reserves of groundwater with a salinity of up to 1.5 grams per liter are 386 million cubic meters per year”. Therefore, only the reserves of explored groundwater can satisfy the demand for fresh water one and a half times greater than the volume of total water withdrawal in 2015 from all sources.
As the Ukrainian scientist proved in his appeal to the UN, an elementary prioritization, taking into account universal human values, in water supply issues will resolve any humanitarian catastrophe. The primary and exclusive provision of the Crimean population with drinking quality water from artesian wells, the rational use of water, in particular treated waste water, in agriculture and industry, a decrease in the volume of water losses during transportation and treatment (up to 13 million cubic meters annually) – this is not a complete list of measures, which will provide normal living conditions for Crimeans on the peninsula. The scientist urged the UN to take into account the fact that the responsibility for everything that happens in Crimea lies with Russia, to take into account only the data that objectively reflects the situation of the peninsula`s water supply.