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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Sami Quadri

Kakhovka dam blast threatens water supply in Crimea, UK warns

The collapse of the Kakhovka Dam has severely disrupted the water supply in southern Kherson Oblast and northern Crimea, British defence chiefs said.

About 30,000 cubic metres of water per second were gushing from the dam after it collapsed on Tuesday in a suspected Russian strike.

A sixth and final reactor at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant was put into cold shutdown as a safety precaution amid the chaos.

Tens of thousands of people on both the Russian and Ukrainian-controlled sides of the Dnipro river have no drinking water.

In its latest intelligence update, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said fresh water could soon stop flowing to Crimea due to the disruption the floods have caused to the Northern Crimean Canal (NCC).

The MoD added: “The NCC draws water from the Kakhovka Reservoir, from an inlet higher than the bed of the reservoir. The water level in the reservoir had likely dropped below the level of the inlet by 09 June 2023 and water will soon stop flowing to Crimea.

“This will reduce the availability of fresh water in southern Kherson Oblast and northern Crimea.

“However, the Russian authorities will likely meet the immediate water requirements of the population using reservoirs, water rationing, drilling new wells, and delivering bottled water from Russia.

“Concurrently, communities on both the Russian and Ukrainian-controlled sides of the flooded Dnipro are facing a sanitation crisis with limited access to safe water, and an increased risk of water-borne diseases.”

Kyiv and Moscow accused each other of shelling evacuation points around the flooded city of Kherson.

Ukrainian adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Vladimir Putin’s forces were “preventing rescuers from evacuating the population”.

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