Sustainable water use tops the agenda for the Donetsk region of Ukraine
Posted on 18 August 2011
New steps to achieve sustainable management of water resources of the Donetsk region of Ukraine were identified during a roundtable discussion, which brought together representatives of WWF, the SABMiller company and the German Society for International Cooperation.Donetsk, Ukraine – New steps to achieve sustainable management of water resources of the Donetsk region of Ukraine were identified during a roundtable discussion, which brought together representatives of WWF, the SABMiller company and the German Society for International Cooperation. Under the project "Water futures" more efficient and sustainable use of water resources is promoted in the region. This innovative project brings together the big business, government and the public in an effort to resolve the environmental problems of the region.
Since the project began one year ago, an extensive study of water resources in the Donetsk region has been carried out. Experts prepared a comprehensive analysis of existing methods of watershed and river basin management, as well as provided advice on water risks and challenges for the region. Taking part in the process were local authorities, representatives of water management organizations and the industry, as well as experts on water management from academic institutions and community organizations.
The main water-related problems of the Donetsk region include compromised infrastructure, large loss of water in the channel of the Seversky Donets river, water pollution of Seversky Donets and Kalmius rivers (where the bulk of wastewater from Donbas and the Kharkiv regions is discharged), the impact of climate change on water quantity in the region (lack of water during the summer months and a possible excess in the winter months).
From an environmental point of view, experts agreed that a decrease in water pollution of Kalmius river - including from rainwater runoff, is paramount. Rainwater runoff is a significant problem for the city of Donetsk and other settlements of the Donetsk region, as rainwater carries industrial pollution, residues of petroleum products and domestic pollution.
Several countries have already shown how similar problems can be solved by using modern biological techniques. Among these is the creation of a bioplato, a system of successive layers in which purification and water filtration occurs through the absorption of pollutants by various living organisms - from bacteria to plants.
"Such a system does not require costly funding and does not allow for dangerous accidents. On the contrary, this is a natural way to purify water”, said Mykhailo Nesterenko of WWF in Ukraine. “If we are able to set up such a system in the city of Donetsk, this will significantly address the storm water problem and improve the ecological condition of the river Kalmius", Nesterenko said.
Considering that the Donetsk region is a mining region, the purification of mining water and its reuse for industrial and domestic needs was also identified as an issue. If this problem is resolved, this could lead to significant savings of water from the Seversky Donets river, which is especially important during the summer period. Some work is already being carried out at the “Donetsk Steel” plant. A detailed study of the implementation of similar technologies will be required.
Climate change, which could have a negative impact on aquatic systems in the region, was also discussed at the roundtable. The Seversky Donets and Kalmius rivers may be reduced by 30-40%, especially in the summer. This may lead to a shortage of water for household needs in the region. However, the problem requires a further detailed study, making climate change the third priority for the project.
The project "Water futures" is partnered by the Ukrainian public environmental organization "Center for Regional Studies" and "For clean sources". The idea of the project is supported by the mayor of Donetsk, Alexander Lukyanchenko, the leadership of the regional state administration, as well as representatives of relevant organizations in the region: Seversko-Donetsk Basin Water Resources management, State Department of Ecology and Natural Resources in Donetsk region, department of Environmental Safety of Donetsk City Council, "Donetskgorvodokanal" and others.
About the SABMiller company (Miller Brands Ukraine)
Miller Brands Ukraine is a brewing company, located in Donetsk. Miller Brands Ukraine is part of SABMiller PLC, one of the world's largest brewing companies represented on six continents. The company owns 150 breweries in 75 countries around the world which produce over 210 million hectoliters of beer per year. Six brands of SABMiller are in the top 50 brands, including Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft, Grolsch, and others.
German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)
The German Society for International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) is a government agency that supports international cooperation in the field of sustainable development. The Society was founded in 1975 by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Federal Republic of Germany (BMZ). It actively cooperates with the government of Germany, the European Commission, World Bank, UN and other international bodies, and provides technical assistance to implement projects in the field of health, infrastructure, economy and education. The purpose of the German Society for International Development is to improve people's lives by building favorable political, economic, environmental and social environment in a globalizing world.