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Russia to spend $106 million on constructing desalination plants in Crimea

The Russian government is planning to build industrial desalination plants in Crimea and Sevastopol to resolve local water shortages by 2023. This was outlined in the government’s newly released plan to ensure reliable water supply to the two regions.

According to the document, 8.2 billion rubles (about $106 million) will be allocated for the construction of the plants in 2021–2022, of which almost 7.8 billion (about $100 million) will come from the federal budget and an additional 410 million rubles ($5.3 million) will come from the regions.

The plants are expected to turn 40,000 cubic meters of seawater into freshwater daily. Where the plants will be located remains unknown. In September, the head of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, said that they might build a desalination plant on the seashore in the town of Nikolayevka, which is located 30 kilometers from the city of Simferopol.

Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry told the business newspaper Kommersant that desalination has been included in the government’s long-term plan, but the extent to which this approach is appropriate will become known “based on the results of evaluating the effectiveness of other ways of solving the problem.”

In total, the Russian government plans to spend 48 billion rubles (about $620 million) on resolving the freshwater supply problem in Crimea and Sevastopol before 2024 (taking into account spending in 2019–2020). 

Crimea and its largest city, Sevastopol, have experienced water shortages since the Ukrainian government cut off freshwater supplies from the Dnipro River to Crimea in response to Russia’s annexation of the peninsula in 2014.

On October 13, 2020, Sevastopol declared a high alert regime due to a decrease in water supplies. According to the municipal government, due to the fact that the region isn’t expecting large amounts of precipitation before the end of the year, there is only enough water to supply the city for 81 days.

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