The problem of water supply of the temporarily uncontrolled territories of the Luhansk oblast has been raised for a long time, has been discussed in contentious debate at different levels and, as a result of "the regular march of history", it was "solved" of itself – the CDLO were left without Ukrainian water. There are two objective reasons – the unwillingness of militants to pay and a banal breakdown at the Petrovsky water intake that supplies Luhansk with water. That way, following the Ukrainian electricity, the residents of the occupied territories lost even water. However, unlike with electricity which was provided by Russia to the "LPR", there are no alternative for water supply in the uncontrolled territories: either water from Ukraine or drought.
The closer the summer, the less water in the tap
The "water" disaster in the CDLO began on May 5 with the cessation of water supply from the Petrovsky water intake and on May 6, – from the Western filter station. Residents of Brianka, Krasnyi Luch, Stakhanov, Pervomaisk, Kirovsk and Alchevsk were left without water. On May 31, the "republican authorities" announced the transition to a new schedule of water supply to the occupied Luhansk. According to the director of the Luhanskvoda "state-owned enterprise" of the "LPR" Alexander Avershyn, the situation with water supply in Luhansk "is gradually worsening with the onset of hotter temperatures".
"The water distribution in our regions has increased to 30-40% with the summer maximum of water consumption. Taking into account the fact that part of the water intakes are beyond the contact line today and no water is supplied from them to any of the facilities of the Luhanskvoda state unitary enterprise of the LPR, we are forced to work under the conditions of water production just from our own sources. All our own sources are at full stretch, but this is not enough", - Avershyn said.
Luhansk received 145 thousand cubic meters of water per day before the onset of hostilities. Now, according to the statements of the separatist "authorities" - it is about 100 thousand, but this figure causes doubts with a detailed reviewing of the new schedule of water supply to the city.
The water will be received 24 hours a day by the central part of the city, the tank farm, Telmana village, Lutuginskaya and Obyezdnaya streets, the areas of the large-panel house building plant, tannery, brick factory, Ostraya Mogila water pump station, third city hospital, the Gayevogo quarter and the lower part of the Kamiennobrodskiy district from June 1.
Water will be provided to the eastern quarters, the upper part of Malaya Vergunka, the quarters of Shevchenko, Dimitrov, Heroes of the Brest Fortress, Aleksieyev, Yeriomienko, Shchors, Parkhomenko, the village of the October Revolution plant and the upper part of the Kamiennobrodskiy district every day from 18.00 to 22.00.
The southern quarters of the city - Mirnyi, Zarechnyi, Stepnoy, Olkhovskiy, Heroes of Stalingrad, Lenin Komsomol, Yuzhnyi will be with water every day from 6.00 to 10.00 and from 18.00 to 22.00. Water is also promised on Oboronnaya Street to Aurora supermarket, near the Tourist Hotel every day from 7.00 to 22.00.
"Water will be supplied to the Bolshaya Vergunka and Krasnyi Yar villages and to the 8th of March state farm from Wednesday from 12.00 to Thursday until 22.00. Supplies will be organized, if necessary", - Avershyn reported. It immediately becomes clear for someone who spent at least a week in Luhansk in the pre-war period: this is not a "schedule ", but a failure and a real catastrophe.
The leader of the LPR Igor Plotnitsky stated earlier that "the problem of water supplies from the territory under Ukraine's control will be decreasing day by day in future years" since the "authorities" of the "LPR" make efforts to supply the "republic" with water produced in the territory occupied by Pro-Russian militants, and "there are capabilities for this". Now it developed that either there were no capabilities from the beginning or they were not smart enough to implement them at least partially.
The facts are as follows: Ukraine supplied water to the "LPR" from two water intakes: the Western filter station near Lysychansk and Petrovsky water intake in the Stanychno-Luhansky district. Stakhanov, Kirovsk, Brianka, Pervomaisk, Krasnyi Luch, Antratsyt and Alchevsk were left without water after the water closure from the WFS. The cessation of supply from the Petrovsky water intake (as a result of the accident) is felt by the Luhansk citizens now.
We want water without paying for it
The issue of payment for Ukrainian water already consumed by the uncontrolled territories remains open. The debt of the CDLO, owed to the Popasnyansky water plant is more than $5.3 million. Neither the Red Cross that had paid earlier part of the debt of the impoverished water canal to the Luhansk energy association nor the agreements reached in Minsk on the calculation through the specially created Source of New Life enterprise operating under the Ukrainian legislation did not help. The militants did not pay for water earlier – they do not pay for it up to now. But they stably, regularly and responsibly collect payments for utilities from population in the occupied territories. There is no mechanism of pressure or coercion of militants to pay bills. The parties to a conflict accuse each other of disrupting the agreements and impeding the work on the mechanism of permanent calculations.
"The mechanism was found in Minsk and calculations for water were made several times. Now the Russian Federation and the de facto separatists that are supported by it are again trying to politicize this issue in order to blame Ukraine once again. This issue will be solved within the framework of the Ukrainian legislation", - the Minister for Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Vadym Chernysh said after speaking at the "Donbass Reintegration under the Conditions of a Hybrid War" international conference on May 23.
According to him, Ukraine will support the delivery of drinking water to the occupied territory of the Luhansk oblast.
The director of the Luhansk energy association Volodymyr Grytsay has another point of view. On May 24, the power company disconnected facilities of the Popasnyansky water and wastewater treatment plant from power supply. It provided water to the controlled territory of the Luhansk oblast. As a result, residents of the Cheryomushki micro-district of Popasna (2 thousand people) got cut off water supply.
The disconnection of pumps distributing water for Ukraine-controlled Popasna is, according to the representatives of the LEA, a completely forced measure caused by the refusal of Ukrenerho on May 23 to give LEA employees access to the 110 kV line to cut off power supply to the Zakhidna filtering station of the Popasnyansky water treatment plant. It provides the bulk of water supplies to Ukraine's uncontrolled part of the Luhansk oblast, which in turn is the main consumer of the Popasnyansky water treatment plant - 90% of water goes there.
"Thus, the desire of the state to continue free water supply to the uncontrolled territories and, accordingly, the use of various ways to limit the LEA in the possibilities to cut off electricity to the largest debtor, lead to the fact that the residents of the controlled part of the Luhansk oblast suffer. Which, in the majority, are quite serviceable payers for consumed water. But, as Popasnyansky plant owed LEA $5.3 million for electricity supply (as of May 1), then the power engineers do not have the opportunity to continue lending to this water utility", - LEA’s press office quoted Grytsay.
On May 31, during a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Housing and Communal Services Eduard Kruglyak, Volodymyr Grytsay made a decision to restore the power supply of the water plant to supply water to Cheryomushki (Popasna), despite the absence of any guarantees for repaying the debt or even establishing approximate terms. The only guarantee is the word of Deputy Minister Kruglyak.
At the same time, initially it was planned to turn off only the facilities of the Zakhidna filtering station that supplies water to the "LPR", Ukrenerho denied access to the 110 kV line, at which it is necessary to carry out appropriate work to de-energize the ZFS.
"Ukrenerho came up with new arguments: 1. This cutting off violates the law. 2. Court ruling is necessary. 3. The LEA should install its own telecontrol on the given power line. Considering that the arguments of Ukrenerho are constantly changing, this should be enough to understand – it is all nonsense. The point is that Ukrenerho has a desire (or an order from above) to continue the work of the ZFS and free water supplies to the uncontrolled territories. In this situation, new reasons and excuses will always be invented to prevent the LEA from cutting off the power supply. But nevertheless, the LEA does not violate Ukrainian legislation and it does not need a court decision to disconnect the malicious debtor which, in the event of non-inclusion, will simply accumulate arrears, thereby creating problems for the energy company and its consumers. In the end, this debtor can either go bankrupt, or be reorganized, so that there will be nobody to return the debt for electricity", - the LEA commented the situation.
Now one more problem has been added to the problem of the debt of uncontrolled territories - an accident at the Petrovsky water intake. According to representatives of the Department of Housing and Communal Services of Luhansk Regional State Administration, there is no money for repairs. Nobody knows what will happen next.
As for the problem of the debt of the Popasnyansky water plant, in the near future this issue will be submitted for discussion in the Cabinet. At least, the governor of Luhansk oblast Yuriy Harbuz has preliminary agreements with First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv.
"I hope to meet with Kubiv or Kistion in the near future to initiate another meeting at which we must resolve the issue with the Luhansk energy association. Popasnyansky water plant depends on it", - Harbuz said.
He also noted that if the decision of this issue with the LEA will reach a deadlock, the state should take over the management of the enterprise for the duration of the antiterrorist operation.
"There is no question of disconnecting from water supplies. These are our territories for which we are at war. If electricity is supplied to the occupied territories from Russia, there is no other way to supply water to this territory", - Harbuz said.
Temporary management, of course, is not "nationalization", but it is not yet possible to foresee all the consequences of such a step, and there is no certainty that such measures will be useful. One thing is clear: residents of the occupied territories have the only hope for water, and not the delivery of rusted liquid once a week, and this is by no means a "fraternal" Russia or a lie of "republican" leaders, but the perseverance and eloquence of the Luhansk governor Harbuz during the scheduled conversation in the Cabinet.
OstroV, Luhansk editorial team