“Kakhovka Platform” calls on the government to reconsider its intentions
The civil society coalition “Kakhovka Platform” appealed to the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal with a letter of appeal regarding the government’s approval of the experimental project to rebuild the Kakhovka HPP.
“The blowing up of the Kakhovka HPP dam by the Russian occupiers on June 6, 2023 is one of the biggest man-made and environmental disasters in Ukraine since the Chornobyl nuclear power plant accident,” the appeal reads. “Consequences of this environmental crime are still being investigated and clarified. In the long-term perspective, the most obvious and large-scale among them is virtually complete disappearance of the Kakhovka Reservoir, with more than 80% of its former bottom exposed, and return of the Dnipro to its natural course. In view of this, experts are currently considering various options for possible restoration of infrastructure and ecosystems in the face of irreversible changes caused by destruction of the Kakhovka HPP”.
In general, the authors of the letter emphasize that these options can be divided into three groups:
– Decline of the idea to reconstruct the Kakhovka HPP and the water reservoir and to restore environmentally and historically important ecosystem of Velykyi Luh in the way that is closest to its original historical form. This way the issue of water supply can be solved by moving water intakes to the Dnipro riverbed, reducing water consumption, switching to resource-saving technologies in the agricultural sector and metallurgy. At the same time, this means refusal to balance the energy system with the capacities of the Kakhovka HPP by replacing it with alternative options for energy generation and storage, and restored shipping due to the improvement of the navigation characteristics of the Dnipro channel.
– Restoration of the reservoir to its previous size and reconstruction of the Kakhovka HPP (most likely, in a somewhat modernized version), as well as of the accompanying infrastructure (water intakes and canals). This option is being actively promoted by Ukrhydroenergo company.
– Other options (of varying degrees of feasibility). For example, restoration of the hydro power plant with a much smaller reservoir (in particular, by damming the riverbed and raising the water level only within its limits) and reconstruction of hydrotechnical facilities.
Members of the coalition note that Ukraine is now in a situation where the Kakhovka Reservoir de facto no longer exists and there is a possibility to choose a future option for its former water area and the entire region, taking into account a comprehensive assessment of ecosystem services.
Further actions should be based on the principles of sustainable development and take into account social, environmental and economic components, the appeal says.
The appeal emphasizes that the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (CMU) made a decision without public discussion, without taking into account opinions of scientists and specialists in various fields. On July 18, the CMU approved the resolution “On implementation of the experimental project “Construction of the Kakhovka hydro hub on the Dnipro River. Reconstruction works after destruction of the Kakhovka hydro power plant and ensuring stable operation of the Dnipro hydro power plant during the reconstruction period”.
This resolution defines the parameters and procedure for implementation of the experimental project from the beginning of the reconstruction of the Kakhovka HPP. The project is designed for 2 years. Moreover, the Procedure for its implementation, approved by Resolution No. 730 dated 18.07.2023, states that the project will be implemented without an environmental impact assessment.
“Such decisions of the Government are a violation of Ukraine’s international obligations, taken within the framework of the Energy Community, the Aarhus Convention, and contradict European approaches, in particular those enshrined in Directive 2011/92/EU, and endanger the possibility of attracting funding from international donors for any activities related to the reconstruction and further development of the region affected by a large-scale environmental disaster”, – authors of the letter believe.
The coalition called on the government to reconsider its premature decision to rebuild the Kakhovka HPP and conduct a comprehensive analysis of the consequences and further options, as well as proper consultations with all stakeholders. “Strategic and spatial planning, including conducting a strategic environmental assessment (SEA), are necessary for the selection of ways of further development of the region, – the appeal emphasizes. It is important to have proposals for various alternative options that are possible to implement in the current environmental and socio-economic conditions.”
For your reference, the “Kakhovka Platform” coalition includes 42 organizations and initiatives, as well as representatives of scientific groups.