After the Russian occupiers blew up the dam of the Kakhovka HPP in the morning of June 6, 2023, which provoked an uncontrolled release of water from the Kakhovka reservoir, the question arose on the possible scale of the consequences of this man-made disaster for the entire South of Ukraine.
We can only make preliminary assumptions based on official and other open data sources.
Read more: Ukraine’s Military Officialy States russian Invaders Blow Up Kakhovka Dam, Zelensky Convening Urgent NSDC Meeting
For example, if we proceed from the official report of the Ukrhydroenergo (Ukrainian state-owned enterprise that administers many major hydro power plants along the Dnieper and Dniester rivers), it will be possible to finally talk about the consequences of the explosion of the Kakhovka HPP no earlier than in 4 days. This is approximately how long the operation (that is, water discharge) of the Kakhov reservoir can last. Kakhovka HPP itself, according to the institution, cannot be restored, the explosion took place in the engine room.
How this terrorist attack by the russia may affect the complex of hydroelectric power plants in Ukraine in general – there is no data yet.
The Ukrhydroenergo also says that the uncontrolled release of water from the Kakhovka reservoir is an additional threat to the temporarily occupied ZNPP, because it is from this reservoir that the plant used to feed the turbine capacitors and safety systems. According to the Energoatom (Ukrainian state enterprise operating all four nuclear power plants in Ukraine), as of 8:00 a.m. on June 6, 2023, the station cooling pond at the ZNPP had a water level of 16.6 meters, which was sufficient for the station's needs.
According to preliminary data, relying on reports from local administrations, it can be stated that the undermining of the Kakhovka HPP may have an impact on water supply in Kherson Oblast, Mykolaiv Oblast, Zaporizhia Oblast, and the city of Kryvyi Rih. Problems with water supply in the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, are not expected.
The occupiers themselves already admit that they no longer count on the supply of water to the temporarily occupied Crimea from the North Crimean Canal - they claim that they "stocked up" as it were. It should be noted that the work of a complete hydrotechnical complex, which ensured the melioration of both the Crimea and the Kherson region, was finally disrupted in November 2022, when the russians destroyed the main pumping station of the Kakhovka reservoir, which actually pumped water to the melioration facilities in the South of Ukraine. Water cannot flow from the Dnipro to hydrotechnical structures by self-flow.
The extent to which agriculture in the Kherson region degraded due to the russia’s invasion to Ukraine (and in particular, to what extent the actual need for water supply to the fields could fall) can be shown by the following figures: if in 2021 the grain harvest was collected from 731 thousand hectares, then in 2023 grain was sown only on 50 thousand hectares (another 450 thousand hectares of fields in the liberated part of the territory are mined and unsuitable for agriculture).
To what extent it is possible to restore the entire hydrotechnical complex for agriculture in Southern Ukraine, it is still too early to make assumptions. It is only worth noting that even in the 1970s, the construction of this complex cost several billion dollars at the then exchange rate (well, of course, at the then currency equivalent).
Speaking of other consequences of the Russian occupiers undermining the Kakhovka HPP, it is worth pointing out that the lock of the Kakhovka HPP was a "gateway" for shipping from the Dnipro to the Black Sea - in particular, to the ports of Kherson and Mykolaiv. In view of this, it seems that the prospect of a full restoration of river transport after the Russian terrorists blew up the Kakhovk HPP on June 6, 2023 is currently not clear.
Defense Express reported, that russian occupying forces blow up Kakhovka dam of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Dnipro river commiting another war crime according to the Geneva Convention and triggering humanitarian disaster. We also wrote, that Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence stresses, that "this terrorist act is a sign of the panic of the Russians and Putin, and in this way they are trying to complicate the actions of the Ukrainian military."