Ukraine agriculture disaster looms as dam collapse dangers desertification

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has not only resulted in devastating humanitarian consequences but additionally poses a severe menace to the country’s agriculture. Ukrainian officers have warned that the southern region’s fertile lands could transform into deserts as early as subsequent yr because of the destruction of significant irrigation techniques that rely on the Kakhovka reservoir. The reservoir is quickly depleting, sending approximately four.4 cubic miles of water down the Dnipro River towards the Black Sea.
Before the warfare, the agriculture ministry states that 31 irrigation methods offered water for more than 2,200 sq. miles of farmland. Taras Vysotsky, First Deputy Minister, explained, “The dam was the one supply of water for irrigation. The dam and the pumping station in it were needed for us to take this water and deliver it. This is now destroyed. If farmers are going to have water lines, it ought to be constructed again from the beginning.”
The Kherson region, considered one of Ukraine’s most fertile and productive areas, shall be heavily impacted. The area produces a wide range of crops, including onions, tomatoes, sunflowers, soybeans, and wheat. Dairy farms are additionally expected to undergo. Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, together with Crimea, may expertise a number of the worst impacts. Fail-proof flooding alongside the Russian-controlled southern shore of the Dnipro is significantly worse than on the Ukrainian-held northern facet.
“It might take up to five years to repair [the dam],” Vysotsky said, “or rebuild it once more from the start. So if we’re losing US$1.5bn for 5 years, we can calculate that the sector would lose round US$7bn.” The flooding has already triggered a sharp rise in international wheat prices.
In addition to agriculture, the destruction of the reservoir may also affect drinking water provide in populated areas. Officials are working to find solutions for providing potable water to cities and villages where the faucets have run dry. Pollution is one other consequence of the flooding, as tons of engine oil and other chemicals have been dumped into the water when the dam and hydroelectric plant collapsed.
Sofia Sadogurska, climate and policy skilled at Ecoaction Ukraine, mentioned, “Although it will take weeks to know the complete impact… we will already see pollution within the space is very excessive. Both from the hydroelectric power station itself and from secondary pollutants in areas. Every city has its personal sewage system.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky referred to the situation as “an environmental bomb of mass destruction,” and the country’s prosecutor general’s workplace is investigating a potential crime of “ecocide.”

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