7 Jun 2023 11:42

Ukrainian Agrarian Policy Ministry makes approximate estimate of damage from Kakhovka HPP incident

MOSCOW. June 7 (Interfax) - The Kakhovka Hydropower Plant incident will stop water supply to 31 cropland irrigation systems in the Dnepropetrovsk region and Kiev-controlled parts of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, which irrigated 584,000 hectares of land and yielded about 4 million tonnes of grains and legumes worth of about $1.5 billion in 2021, the Ukrainian media said with the reference to the Ukrainian Agrarian Policy Ministry.

Only 13 irrigation systems are functioning on the western bank of the Dnieper in 2023. The Kakhovka HPP situation left 94% of irrigation systems in the three aforesaid regions without a source of water, the ministry said in a press release on Tuesday evening.

Now about 10,000 hectares of cropland will be flooded on the western bank, in addition to several times more on the eastern bank, which is not controlled by Kiev, the ministry said.

Fisheries will also suffer. Deaths of fish, both young and mature, have already been recorded. The spawning period has just ended, and eggs will dry out in shallow areas once the water level drops.

Besides, fauna carried out by water from the reservoir into floodplains downstream of the Kakhovka HPP dam will also die when the water level goes down and it ends up on land, the ministry said.

Another problem, the report says, will be the ingress and death of freshwater fish and other biological resources in the salty waters of the Black Sea. In turn, the Black Sea fauna can also die from a massive influx of fresh water, it said.

"The damage done to fisheries by the deaths of mature fish alone may reach 95,000 tonnes and about 4 billion hryvni. The overall damage from the deaths of those bio-resources is tentatively estimated at up to 10.5 billion hryvni," the ministry said.

Negative implications from the damage to water bio-resources will last for several years even if the Kakhovka reservoir rapidly fills, as quantitative and qualitative recovery of fish populations and restoration of bottom cenoses of the food base will take much time.

"All of these estimates are preliminary. Final conclusions will be drawn only after the water level stabilizes," the ministry said.

The Ukrainian media also quoted Urkhydroenergo head Igor Sirota as telling DW that it would take at least 1 billion euros and five years to build a replacement for the ruined Kakhovka HPP.

"Construction of a similar plant will take at least 800 million euros. This is a matter of the plant, the bridge and the railroad track. The system of gate valves has also been damaged. So, this is about the entire infrastructure, which brings the overall cost to at least 1 billion euros. Most importantly, it will take time, at least five years, to rebuild everything," Sirota said.