The Kakhovka Reservoir is critically drained by Russia, that may cause a man-made disaster at the Zaporizhzhia NPP.
Currently, the water level in the Kakhovka Reservoir has dropped to its lowest level in three decades, threatening the ZNPP cooling system: if the water level drops below 13.2 m, it will be at risk. The current level of the reservoir is 14 meters. Since November the water level has dropped critically as the Russians opened additional sluices to drain the water.
The south of Ukraine is a zone of irrigated agriculture. Grain, vegetables and sunflowers are grown on fertile soils, but agriculture requires irrigation due to a lack of precipitation. The Kakhovka Reservoir became the largest reservoir of fresh water, from which water is supplied to nearby towns and agricultural land is irrigated. Moreover, its water is used for cooling the nuclear power plant.
Since November 2022, the water level in the reservoir has been constantly falling: now its depth does not exceed 14 meters, which is almost a critical level. If the water drops another meter, cooling of the ZNPP will be problematic. This could endanger the lives of more than a billion people. Russia is returning to de facto nuclear blackmail. Putin is ready to escalate in all possible ways, and the actions of the Russians, who violate all rules or conventions, have long been a crime against the Ukrainian people. One of the goals of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine was to restore water supplies to occupied Crimea via a 403-kilometer water pipeline that leads from the reservoir. The Russians managed to do that in the summer of 2022.
There are a number of reservoirs on the territory of the Crimean Peninsula made by occupiers. They are trying to fill them with the Kakhovka Reservoir’s water, because there is a lack of groundwater in Crimea. Such actions can damage the ecosystem of the entire south of Ukraine and lead to a shortage of water in cities and for agricultural needs. Satellite images of the reservoir show shallow waters in many areas that threaten the cooling system of the ZNPP.
This is Putin’s nuclear terrorism, which grossly violates the principles of international law. If water dumping does not stop, the water level in the Kakhovka Reservoir will reach 10 meters already in the spring. This will be a direct threat to the Zaporizhzhia NPP.