Russian Troops Bomb Dam

Water Supply To Crimea Restored

5 Mar 2022 by The Water Diplomat

On 26 February, Russian troops bombed a concrete dam in the Kherson region of Ukraine, effectively restoring the water supply to Crimea through the North Crimean Canal.

The canal, which had been built in the Soviet period to provide Crimea with urban and agricultural water, had been blocked by Ukraine in 2014 following the Russian annexation of Crimea. This intervention severely limited water supplies to the 2.3 million inhabitants of the Crimean region, cutting off 85% of the region’s water.

The canal has a length of more than 400 km, drawing on the water of the Dnieper River and branching off throughout Crimea to supply irrigation water to agricultural areas and eventually providing a water supply to the Crimean capital of Simferopol.

The blockage of the canal severely limited the water resources available in Crimea and led to the Russian Prosecutor’s office filing a human rights complaint with the European Court of Justice in July 2021.

Since the recent build-up of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, there had been fears within Ukraine that the canal and its dam would be a key target in the eventuality of an attack. The attack on the dam followed on the first day of the Russian invasion, confirming its importance as a military target.

The governor of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, announced the destruction of the dam and indicated that the work on the rehabilitation of the canal had commenced. He expected the clean-up of the canal to take two weeks, as the canal bed had become overgrown with plants and trees in the period since 2014.

Since his statements, Russian media has announced the that the canal is beginning to fill with water again.            

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