Improved Water Supply for Reviving the Economy of Donbas

May 17, 2016

Despite the challenging economic situation, many enterprises of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts struggle hard to sustain their operation, provide jobs for local population and IDPs and pay taxes to the state and local budgets. A lot of them have moved from the insecure eastern districts of Donbas to those western and northern ones like Kramatorsk, Sloviansk, Mariupol, Severodonetsk, and others. Moreover, numerous IDPs have decided to launch their own businesses here, with occupations ranging from education to car maintenance services and from bakeries to metal goods manufacturing. One common problem unites most of these initiatives: local water supply systems can hardly bear this entrepreneurial renaissance.

“The needs assessment demonstrated clearly that most of communities in our target region have water supply systems so old and deficient that local population and SMEs suffers from permanent breakdowns, - Mustafa Sait-Ametov, “Economic Recovery of Donbas Region” Project Manager, says. – If we plan for economic recovery of the region, we need to secure its backbone, the economic infrastructure. Sustainable water supply is one of its key factors for livelihood stabilization and economic recovery, which is why UNDP has decided to step in and support its restoration”.

Under its recovery projects UNDP, has selected 5 water supply facilities to restore and upgrade with support of the Government of Japan. Some of the facilities serve several local communities – like Kramatorsk or Kreminna water pumping stations. Others are critical for large populations – like the water pumping station in Semenivka, a key element of the whole region’s water supply system. This critical facility - it serves roughly 3 million people at 95% of Donetsk oblast territory - was heavily shelled during the fights in 2014. Therefore, its restoration was a top priority for UNDP efforts on securing water supply for local enterprises and population.

Some of the water supply infrastructure facilities are already restored and handed over to the local communities. UNDP is happy to observe the positive changes in the operation of the infrastructure, improved water supply services provided. For instance, after 3800 meters of pipes were replaced in Bilozerske town (Donetsk oblast), local enterprises and 16 000 of the town’s inhabitants now benefit from sustainable water supply round-the-clock. The first example of this action’s impact on the economy comes from the local bottled water plant named “The Golden Well”. Due to the piping system breakdown, the enterprise was previously cut off the artesian well and closed. Now “The Golden Well” can resume its operation, providing jobs for 50 men and women from Bilozerske, as well as add up to the local economic recovery.

Notably, the improvements of the water supply system also help the local communities to save money. Restoration of Kramatorsk water pumping station is one of the illustrative cases here. With the new filtration system the pipes are going to serve longer while an automatic pumping system makes the enterprise more energy efficient.

Kreminna and Sloviansk cities are the next ones to feel the positive change of the water supply facilities recovery – reconstruction specialists hired by UNDP deploy there operation here. The “Economic and Social Recovery of Donbas Region” project plans to reach its target to recover all 5 selected water supply facilities by the end of summer of 2016.

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