The problem of Crimea’s overpopulation is among the reasons that affected the water balance of the peninsula and caused water shortages, along with global warming, last year’s drought, military expansion of the occupier, and failed “management” of the occupying power.
Instead of the pre-war permanent population of the Crimean Peninsula of 2,350,000,504 people, now we see a de facto population of at least 3,100,000 people. Over the years of occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, the population of the peninsula has increased by at least one million people due to migration from the Russian Federation. But that’s not all…
According to Russian statistics, 6.3 million tourists visited Crimea in 2020. This year, the Crimean “authorities” expect about nine million Russians to arrive in the peninsula. Virtually all traditionally “tourist” countries closed their borders due to the pandemic, so the Russians are going to rest on the occupied peninsula.
Back in April this year, the “head” of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, said that the peninsula was ready to welcome up to 10 million tourists each year. To put it mildly, this is not entirely true. Undoubtedly, the occupying power is ready to “welcome” 10 and even 20 million. For them, it is a way of enrichment. The more tourists from Russia will have a rest in Crimea, the bigger sums of money that will end up in pro-government pockets. However, the infrastructure of the peninsula, including water mains and sewers, is unable to withstand such a large number of people.
The infrastructure of mostly Soviet times does not correspond to the number of unplanned new buildings, mini-hotels, and apartments, which are so popular with the occupation authorities. This is a burden to the old treatment facilities.
In some places such facilities were installed, in others not, so the sewer flows directly into the sea and rivers of the peninsula.
The sums of money allocated to solve the problem of sewage treatment plants are impressive, but almost nothing is done. Total embezzlement and populist talks. Suffice it to mention the story of the disappearance of two billion rubles, intended for the repair of the main treatment facilities of Sevastopol, at a Moscow bank. And this is just one of the scandals. There are no sewage treatment plants, and it is unknown when they will appear in Sevastopol and throughout Crimea.
Crimean water mains are in critical condition. According to experts, about 50% of water is lost while being transported to consumers. However, the occupying power is not up to repairs and reconstructions.
According to Oleksiy Reznikov, Deputy Prime Minister – Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, there are enough water reserves and opportunities to get it naturally in Crimea. “We conducted more than one inspection, more than one examination by specialists, including those who worked in those organisations in Crimea,” said Reznikov.
It is only necessary to take care of the condition of infrastructure and ensure quality and full restoration of water resources and not to turn the occupied peninsula into a militarised tourist Mecca.
Therefore, the problem of water supply and protection of the water balance of the peninsula, which arose in the occupied Crimea, entirely rests with Putin’s Kremlin and the pro-Russian “new government.” But they don’t care a curse for the problems of the Crimean people as they are not theirs. Crimea was stolen from Ukraine openly and brazenly. Therefore, the hopes of the Crimean people for thwarted humanitarian catastrophe and improved water supply are tied to the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty over the peninsula.
Yuri Fedorenko, Head of NGO “Agency for Development of Democracy and Information Freedoms”
Views of the author do not necessarily reflect the official position of the editorial staff