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WASH Cluster Incident Report №271, 22/07/2020

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Voda Donbasa (VD) water company informed WASH Cluster of serious damage, and almost stoppage, today, to major parallel water pipelines which together supply 3.1 million people on both sides of the Line of Contact (LoC) in Eastern Ukraine. As a result of shelling, which happened at around 5.00 am on Wednesday 22nd July 2020, three pipelines of the Siverskyi Donets Donbas (SDD) channel, close to the 3rd Lift Pumping Station, and located in ‘no man’s land’, were all damaged. Two pipes have diameters of 2300 mm and the third is 2100 mm (all are larger than 2 metres in diameter).

VD has already requested a Window of Silence (WoS) and demining works, via the JCCC. An earlier WoS was in place from 3rd to 20th July, and it is disturbing that such critical pipelines were damaged so soon after its expiry. Now Voda Donbasa is asking for a new WoS, or that the previous WoS be extended until the end of July 2020, for urgent repairs.

Humanitarian Consequences: The 3 rd Lift PS normally supplies up to 60 000 m3 per hour, flowing south across the LoC at this location. However, currently, only 20% of the normal flow (around 10,000-12,000 m3 per hour) is crossing into Non-Government Controlled Areas (NGCA) nevertheless some of that flow is still crossing back into Government Controlled Areas afterwards. The effect of the damage is that Filter Stations (FS) with backup reservoirs have started to use them: Horlivka #1 and #2 FS, Yenakievska FS, Volyntsevska FS, Donetksa FS will supply about 80% of their normal amount, meanwhile Velykoanadolska FS and Krasnoarmiiska (Pokrovska) FS, (both located in GCA) are still receiving water from the pipeline. Mariupol city is currently cut altogether from the main system, and is relying on the large Starokrimske reservoir.

This incident is a sad example of the extreme vulnerability of the water systems crossing into and out of NGCA areas, upon which millions of people rely for domestic water supply, watering of vegetable gardens in the summer, and heating in the winter. The WASH Cluster is in touch with VD and will inform partners of any updates.