It'll take 3-5 years to restore irrigation systems - SFU

It'll take 3-5 years to restore irrigation systems - SFU

Under favorable conditions, it will take no less than 3-5 years to restore the reclamation systems left without water as a result of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant (HPP) explosion.

Taras Kot, first deputy head of the State Agency of Land Reclamation and Fisheries of Ukraine (SFU), told Ukrinform in a commentary.

"Under favorable conditions (end of Russia's war, sufficient financial resources, materials, equipment, machinery, etc., sufficient volumes of Dnipro runoff to fill the reservoir with water), the restoration of these reclamation systems (in Kherson, Dnipro, and Zaporizhzhia regions - ed.) can be completed in at least 3-5 years," he said.

Kot noted that the destruction of the Kakhovka HPP left 94% of irrigation systems in Kherson, 74% in Zaporizhzhia, and 30% in Dnipro regions without a source of irrigation for a long time. In total, more than 350 irrigation pumping stations and about 1,100 kilometers of reclamation canals cannot be used.

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According to him, when irrigation systems do not function for a long time, they are not only destroyed but also stolen, starting with metal elements, and ending with concrete slabs of canals, especially in the occupied territories. Similarly, on-farm reclamation systems and farmers' sprinkler equipment will be stolen.

"The initial value of the state property of reclamation systems and canals that were tied to the Kakhovka reservoir is over UAH 2 billion, which in terms of current prices is UAH 150-160 billion. This is the estimated cost of restoring the reclamation infrastructure. These figures can be clarified only after the de-occupation of the territories," Kot stated.

SFU's deputy head reminded that in the last pre-war years, 31 irrigation systems on about 584,000 hectares (of which 512,000 hectares are now in the occupied territories) were fed from the Kakhovka reservoir. These include 329,400 hectares in Kherson region, 204,300 hectares in Zaporizhzhia region, and 50,200 hectares in Dnipro region.

Read also: 44 settlements remain flooded in Kherson region

The largest of these systems (both in Europe and the world), the Kakhovka irrigation system, supplied water to over 250,000 hectares.

Out of 584,000 hectares supplied with water for irrigation purposes from the Kakhovka reservoir in the pre-war years, the Kakhovka main canal served 326,000 hectares, the North Crimean Canal, 39,700 hectares. A number of systems in Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, and Dnipro regions carried out their own separate water intake from the reservoir for a total irrigation area of 218,300 hectares. The largest of them are Pivnichno-Rohachynska, Zaporizhzhia, Ivanivka, Nikopol, and Vyshchetarasivka irrigation systems.

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As reported, on the night of June 6, Russian occupation forces blew up the dam of the Kakhovka HPP. The plant is beyond repair. Currently, the consequences of flooding of settlements and critical infrastructure are being eliminated.

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