Solving the water shortage problem is highly anticipated in Crimea
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gave an order to assemble a work team. The team should be ready by the 10th of September, and its primary function is to ensure delivering water supplies to Crimea. The working group will be comprised of representatives of the Ministry of Defence and Rosatom as well as scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences. The water shortage crisis has become acute since the water supply via the North Crimea Canal was eliminated due to the actions of Ukrainian officials.
Over the last four years Ukrainian politicians are constantly discussing their decision payoff. As an example, a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and one of the leaders of the forbidden in Russia «Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People» Mustafa Dzhemilev declared in the beginning of the summer that «farming industry is hardly even existent in Crimea». One more example – Taras Berezovets, political consultant working for the Petr Poroshenko government, in an interview to Kyiv mass media said that Russia must pay by returning Kuban if it is willing to restore the water delivery system. Otherwise, peninsula will turn into a desert.
Apparently, water supplies issue is actually quite a serious problem for the Crimean Peninsula. Although, it would be a slight exaggeration to say that the situation is unsolvable. There are water supplies at the resorts, but in the central and northern parts of the peninsula, commonly the farming zone of Crimea, the situation is, however, not that good.
It is also possible to buy local fruits and vegetables at the markets of the coastal cities, and the prices during the summer season are as low as in the other parts of Russia. Thus, despite the lack of water, there are still enough water reserves for growing plants. On the downside, in many cases Crimean residents use drinking water for the purposes of harvesting.
According to the Principal of Saint-Petersburg Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko, «The Crimean peninsula is rich in subsurface water deposits. In addition to it, there are also a number of water storage basins. For this reason, current rumours that Crimea will turn into a desert without water delivery from the River Dnieper are obviously incorrect. What has to be done is some actions aimed at improving water usage efficiency, which include developing a mathematical model of the Crimean underground drinking and service waters. Agricultural and industrial enterprises should use only service water in their daily activities, whereas in contrast at this time they generally use the water meant for drinking. By doing so, businesses take the water away from the locals. These are improper practices».
Subsurface water reserves estimations should be conducted each 25 to 30 years. As by the end of this period, water deposits might get changed both quantitatively and qualitatively. On the last occasion this kind of research activities took place in Crimea in the 1960s, whereas after that Ukrainian authorities did not address the issue.
As the scientists say, there is a possibility to intensify confined groundwater production in Crimea. However, no one knows the volumes, how exactly water storages are refilled, their rate of accretion, salt concentration and water contamination rates. Most importantly, no one knows exact spots for drilling wells, which are highly needed to make up for the loss of the North Crimea Canal.
The Mining University specialists have already developed some mathematical models of the underground waters for two companies located in the northern part of the peninsula – «Crimean Titan» in Armyansk and «Crimean Soda Factory» in Krasnoperekopsk. As a result, it became possible to optimize well fields operation efficiency through the interaction of existing and projected wells, increase usage rates and improve the water resource quality.
As per Dmitry Ustyugov, Head of Department of Hydrogeology and Geo-engineering at the Mining University, «Crimean Titan» needs 48,000 cubic meters of water per day, but getting these volumes has become a serious issue, once the canal was halted. We suggest drilling a few additional wells in order to reduce the load on the existing ones. In this case we can avoid extracting saltwater from the end of the hole. The appropriate models have been already developed, and the exact spots, where drilling works should take place, have been also specified».
The same kind of mathematic model, which allows creating the subsurface waters slate, should be developed for the Northern Sivash Field. Thus, complex nature of interaction between the water fields will be taken into account, water resources usage will be optimized and granting licenses concerning research and water extraction will be conducted in accordance with legitimate principles. Scientists believe that it will take about two years to get this work done.