Extensive damage to water and electricity infrastructure across Ukraine

25 Nov 2022 by The Water Diplomat

On the 23rd of November Ukraine suffered the most extensive damage to civilian infrastructure so far, interrupting water and electricity supplies across a wide area. The mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klischko, announced that the water supplies of the whole city had been knocked out. Similarly, the mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovyi, announced that electricity had been cut off and stated that this would probably also undermine water supplies. Engineers around the country worked around the clock to restore services, although in many cases infrastructure suffered extensive damage, requiring new parts t be delivered. Nevertheless, by 25th of November, Kyiv’s water services had been fully restored.

In Kherson city, citizens struggled to survive, some collecting water directly from the Dnieper River and others from puddles in the streets. On the 9th of November, Russia had announced its withdrawal from the Kherson region after Ukrainian forces regained control over some 60 towns and villages in the Kherson region.  Many of these areas had been without electricity, gas and running water for months.  In the evening of the 12th November President Volodomyr Zelenski announced that the occupying forces had destroyed “all critical infrastructure – communication, water supply, heat and electricity” prior to their withdrawal from Kherson. In addition, the regional military administration established in Kherson by Ukraine announced that all electricity infrastructure had been mined, considerably slowing down the restoration efforts.  On the 21st of November, the Save the Children Fund stated that many families in Kherson city had not had access to safe water supplies for two weeks, as markets began to run low on food and water. There was also evidence that the Nova Kakhova dam has suffered structural damage from direct missile strikes, exposing the region to risks of extensive flooding.

According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, millions of people living on the front lines of the conflict in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhizhia have limited or no access to food, fuel, water or adequate shelter.  Some communities in these regions have been cut off from external support since the beginning of the conflict.