About 10,000 hectares of agricultural land have been flooded on the right bank of the Dnipro river alone as a result of the blowing up of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant in Kherson Oblast by the Russian occupiers, while the volume in the occupied territories is several times larger.
Source: Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine
Details: The water spill flooded approximately 10,000 hectares of agricultural land on the right bank of the Dnipro river in Kherson Oblast. The area on the left bank is several times larger, but these areas are currently occupied.
In addition, the disaster will cut off the water supply to 31 irrigation systems in Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. It is noted that in 2021, these systems provided irrigation for 584,000 hectares.
This year, only 13 irrigation systems operated on the right bank of the Dnipro River. Now, 94% of irrigation systems in Kherson, 74% in Zaporizhzhia and 30% in Dnipropetrovsk oblasts are without a water source.
According to Oleh Nivievskyi, founder of the KSE Agricultural Centre and Vice President for Economic Education, there were up to 500,000 hectares under irrigation in Ukraine. “Therefore, about 200,000 hectares have been left without irrigation due to the explosion,” he wrote, noting that this figure includes the occupied territories.
Nivievsky said that the network of the Ingulets irrigation system has not been working for the past year, and the South Crimean Canal stopped working even earlier.
The Ministry of Agrarian Policy says this will lead to the possibility that fields in southern Ukraine could turn into deserts next year.
Also, without the Kakhovka reservoir, drinking water sources for settlements will suffer.
The consequences for the fishing industry are critical. Fish deaths, both young and adult, are already being recorded. The spawning season has just ended and as the water level drops, the eggs will dry out in the dried-up areas. The reservoir fauna carried by the water flow to the floodplains formed below the Kakhovka HPP dam will also die.
Another problem will be the ingress and death of freshwater fish and other biological resources into the salty waters of the Black Sea. In turn, the Black Sea fauna may also die from the massive influx of fresh water.
Losses to the fishing industry from the death of adults alone could reach 95,000 tonnes, or about 4 billion hryvnias [approximately US$108,000]. In total, according to preliminary estimates, losses from the death of all biological resources will amount to up to 10.5 billion hryvnias [about US$283,000].
Such consequences of the water devastation will be visible for several years, even if the Kakhovka reservoir bed is filled in the near future.