Water for Mykolaiv

On September 15, 2023, a free water supply station for local residents was launched in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. This project comes amidst the severe drinking water shortage caused by the ongoing shelling of critical civilian infrastructure in the region by russian forces. The drinking water situation in the Mykolaiv region is among the most critical in the country, as contamination levels have far exceeded the normal.

The city’s water grid suffered extensive damage in April 2022 when russians targeted the two main pipelines that provided the city with fresh water from the Dnipro River. Authorities had to resort to emergency measures using technical water (non-potable) from a nearby estuary. Since then, the grid has been partially repaired, but tap water is still unusable for drinking or cooking. Locals say that even taking a shower with their tap water is barely possible, as it leaves severe burns on the skin. In November 2022, The Washington Post reported that “On any given day, at least 10 percent of the city is without even technical water because of broken pipes” which leaves the city with no heating, even in freezing temperatures.

After almost a year, the situation has not changed much, and has worsened. Due to the poor quality of the water, the pipes and pumps that are critical for supplying water to the city are seriously corroded and require almost constant maintenance. The consequences of the explosion of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station has also added to the stress the infrastructure is under. Given that, the city still heavily relies on outside shipments providing locals with clean water to make sure that, among other things, food production and medical facilities can continue working without interruptions. City officials claim that there are currently no alternatives to this, as replacing the destroyed infrastructure during hostilities is impossible, and efforts to reach an agreement with the russians to repair the system failed. 

For now, locals have to rely on several clean water stations in the city provided by Red Cross and other international organizations. Lidia, a resident of Mykolaiv, says that trips to these mobile water supply stations have become a part of their daily routine. “Not everyone has a car, so it’s like a golden rule: after work, we carry bottles and bring the water we need for basic daily needs. Generally, we can only carry two 5-liter bottles at a time, unless we need to go grocery shopping or do something extra. In such cases, we are limited to only one bottle.” 

The city’s economy has also taken a severe hit. “In Mykolaiv, there is currently a high unemployment rate because many enterprises have been relocated to safer places,” Lidia explains. She also added that local families’ budgets are suffering “because the water is very salty, it is necessary to change faucets and other sanitary equipment (washing machines, boilers) frequently, as they fail due to the [poor quality of] water.”

However, to stabilize the water supply, especially amidst heavy strikes, sustainable local sources of water are desperately needed. This issue is what the latest Nova Ukraine initiative in the region addresses. A well and a filter system were constructed to combat the continuing shortages of clean water in the area. Water extracted from wells is thoroughly filtered using Israeli Arkadia Water Treatment equipment, which preserves its natural structure and beneficial elements.

We sincerely thank our partners, the water cleaning factory JEWROPE and Evgeny Neymer, for their invaluable support and assistance with purchasing the equipment. We also thank our coordinators Elena Drozd and Darya Pinchuk for their continuous support and organizing humanitarian efforts in the Mykolaiv region.

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