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7 Dec, 2020 13:55

Yalta restricts water to just six hours a day as Ukraine’s supply blockade takes its toll on Crimea

Yalta restricts water to just six hours a day as Ukraine’s supply blockade takes its toll on Crimea

Authorities in Yalta will begin restricting water use to just mornings and evenings, with the peninsula’s supply at critically low levels due to light rains and Kiev’s blockage of a canal to the disputed territory.

Crimea has experienced water shortages since 2014, when the Ukrainian government cut off freshwater supply from the Dnieper River, following Russia’s reabsorption of the peninsula.

Kiev built a dam on the North Crimean Canal, which had previously provided the vast majority of the peninsula’s water. The canal was built by the Soviet Union when Russia and Ukraine were both parts of the same union state. Moscow has called the blockage a “violation of all conceivable conventions.”

On October 13, the local authorities declared high alert after calculating that the region only has enough water to supply Crimea’s largest city, Sevastopol, for 81 days.

The measure to limit Yalta residents to just six hours of water comes after an order from Crimean head Sergey Aksenov, who told local authorities that they must regularly publish information about water reserves. Citizens will now be limited to three hours of water in the morning and three hours in the evening.

“You have a difficult situation. The water supply system of Yalta is different from other regions of the Republic of Crimea,” Aksenov explained. “People should understand that these three hours will be enforced, one hundred percent.”

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The regional head also noted that local authorities received 1,268 water-related complaints in the last week, including citizens reporting that upper floors of buildings were receiving no supply.

Yalta is just the latest Crimean city to receive the bad news about water restrictions, with limits already being imposed in Simferopol, the peninsula’s second-largest city. In Yevpatoria, another resort town, residents have already been told that they will not have hot water until the end of the year. 

In October, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin revealed that the federal government would spend five billion rubles ($64.5 million) to fix water supply issues. 

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