Kostiantyn Herasymov, Project Manager at ADRA Ukraine, tells us how the charity organization helps to supply people with potable water in the areas affected by the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam.
— Kostiantyn, please describe the situation with water supply during the war and the challenges that ADRA Ukraine is responding to as part of the project you are coordinating.
— The dam of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant was destroyed by an explosion on June 6, 2023, which led to rapid flooding of settlements located downstream of the Dnipro River from the Kakhovka reservoir. In addition, 40,000 people were in the critical flood zone on the right bank of the Dnipro and needed to be evacuated. On the left bank of the Dnipro, the situation was more difficult to assess, as this area of Kherson region is temporarily uncontrolled by Ukraine. The reservoir provided water supply, including potable water, to large industrial cities such as Kryvyi Rih, Marhanets, Nikopol, Kherson, and Pokrov, which are home to about 700,000 people. The shallowing of the Kakhovka Reservoir as a result of the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam made it impossible for the region’s agriculture to access water. The population lost access to drinking, clean water. Even after the water level returns, it will remain contaminated for a very long time.
— How did ADRA Ukraine respond to this problem?
— The team at ADRA Ukraine headquarters developed several plans to provide assistance in the affected regions. These projects included evacuating people, providing temporary shelter, supplying drinking bottled water, drinking water treatment equipment, and drilling wells. The implementation of our project began with the assessment of requests from the heads of local administrations. On June 7, 2023, the ADRA Ukraine team received a letter from Anton Yefanov, Deputy Head of the Kherson Administration, describing the urgent needs of the community. ADRA Ukraine staff identified the following needs: bottled water and water treatment plants. A religious organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ukraine, acted as a donor to support this project. After several field visits to Kherson, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Dnipro regions and communication with local authorities, locations for the project were identified. Bottled water was distributed in the village of Antonivka in Kherson Oblast, the city of Beryslav and the village of Rakivka in Kherson Oblast, and the village of Solone in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. A tender was held to implement this component of assistance. We organized water distribution and collected data of beneficiaries who participated in the project. As for the water treatment plant component, the following locations were selected: Rakivka village and Novovorontsovka town in Kherson Regiob; and Solone village in Zaporizhzhia Regiob. Preliminary water tests were conducted, potential locations for equipment installation were assessed, and engineering measurements were taken. For implementation of this component, requests were collected from local communities where the population was most in need of clean potable water. In other words, the purpose of this project was to install the treatment equipment in places accessible to people or in the food preparation units in hospitals where the beneficiaries themselves are treated.
— How can the results of the assistance provided to the population under the project be assessed?
— We set a goal of providing bottled water to 1,500 people. We managed to provide water to 3,939 people, which is 263% more than planned. As for the water treatment plants, we achieved the following results: we planned to provide 1,800 people with three stations in different locations in the Kherson region: in the village of Rakivka and in the Novovorontsovo hospital. In Rakivka, the population is currently 326 people, so they also have access to this water and can come and fill bottles. In the Zaporizhzhia region, in the Solonivka Lyceum “Leader”, where the treatment equipment was installed, the number of students and staff is 217. People who live in the neighboring streets of the village can also come to get water.
— What difficulties did ADRA team face during the project implementation?
— It was planned that the work at all three locations would be completed within a month after signing agreements with the contractor, but during the technical implementation phase, the enemy shelled the territories, especially in Rakivka, which made it impossible to complete the work on time, because the power grid near Rakivka was damaged and could not be repaired until the unexploded ordinance removal teams managed to visit the location to determine whether there was a threat to people’s lives. Therefore, the work was completed later. In addition, we had a delay with the plant commissioning, but the necessary additional equipment was installed and everything is now working.
— How did people respond to the assistance provided?
— People were very satisfied. Water treatment plants are a better option for providing potable water to beneficiaries than bottled water. Because bottled water is more of an emergency aid and for a short time. And the equipment is more productive and has a longer-term perspective. In addition, ADRA Ukraine pays for maintenance for each plant all year round.
— What needs still remain unmet?
— Obviously, the need for such water treatment plants is much greater. We need many more plants for schools, because even if we take the city of Kryvyi Rih, it used to take water from the Kakhovka reservoir. After the dam was destroyed, water is supplied there from several different sources, and this is a problem because the water comes in of different quality. Therefore, it is necessary to install such water treatment plants in schools, especially in canteens, so that children have normal potable water and food cooked with high-quality water. In general, this problem should be considered strategically at the state level. By the way, we are already considering drilling wells, and where they are drilled, in this region in the south of Ukraine, it is advisable to install water treatment plants, because the water there is bitter and salty, and such plants could fix this.
— We have focused on a project supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ukraine. But what are some other humanitarian aid project supported by other donors in the same area?
— At the same time, ADRA Ukraine is implementing two other projects related to overcoming the consequences of the Kakhovka HPP explosion – projects supported by the ADRA Czech Republic and by ADRA Network. Within the framework of the project, two wells have been drilled, and the installation of two water treatment systems is being completed in the Kryvyi Rih district of Dnipro Region with the support of ADRA Czech Republic. In addition, one truckload of bottled water was distributed to the population of Kherson Region, which no longer has access to drinking water. As part of the ADRA Network project, our team is working on installing three stationary water treatment systems in the Dnipro, Mykolaiv, and Kherson Regions. We also delivered one mobile water treatment plant to the Dariivska community in the Kherson Region. This project also included the distribution of 1356 individual and family kits and three trucks of bottled water to the population in need in Tyahynska community (Kherson Region), Maryanske village (Dnipro Region), and Shevchenkova community (Mykolaiv region).
Questions: Hnat Mierienkov