What’s the quality of the water we use? How safe is it for our health? These questions should be answered with the use of data from the state water quality monitoring, the procedure of which was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine back in 2018. However, there’s still no state monitoring program.
Anastasia Bondarenko, legal analyst at the Right to Protection CF, commented on this
«Ukraine is actively developing a water quality monitoring system. Surface waters are the main source of drinking water in many regions of Ukraine (for example, in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where its sources are the Siverskyy Donets and groundwater). Surface water monitoring programs in accordance with European standards are successfully implemented by the Siversko-Donetsk Basin Administration. But as the workers themselves admit, not all water sources have enough equipment and funding is provided mainly through international support programs. But the situation with groundwater monitoring is much worse.»
According to the State Ecological Academy of Postgraduate Education and Management and the implementing organization OpenAccess Environment, which was responsible for the implementation of the «Open Environment» program of the on-site water quality and level of groundwater monitoring. In November 2019 the submission of information must have started as a part of the water quality monitoring system but as of now it is still in development.
Significant percentage of the water supply in both regions was damaged by hostilities. According to the expert, wells remain the only source of water supply for many locals. Most mining towns and villages are located directly above the clearing. Therefore, the chemical composition of water in wells is affected not only by the composition of mine water but also by their level.
Unfortunately, we have to state that systematic monitoring of mine waters is not carried out at the moment. The situation is particularly difficult in cities associated with mines that are flooded in Non-Government Controlled Areas of Ukraine, such as Zolote and Toretsk.
Enterprises located in the controlled territory, according to the state account of water use, only in Donetsk region in 2019 carried out dumping of mine and quarry waters to surface water objects of the Kazeny Torets river basin (Siverskyy Donets river basin) in volume of 17.05 million square meters without quality category. And this is only the data on 10 coal industry enterprises.
According to the State Institution «Donetsk Regional Laboratory Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine» in 2019 they have conducted 11860 studies of drinking water quality from the decentralized water supply for sanitary and chemical indicators. Deviations from sanitary norms – 16.7% (against 12.6.0% for the same period last year) out of more than 11828 studies of drinking water of decentralized water supply for nitrate content. Deviations from sanitary norms – 46.1% (against 11.6% for the same period of the last year) due to decrease in research against last year’s level.
«The consequences of the lack of water quality control, the inability to promptly and adequately inform the public about the state of technical and drinking water as well as the threats to the use of such water for health violate the rules of Art. 50 of the Constitution of Ukraine, which stipulates that everyone has the right to a safe environment for life and health and guarantees everyone the right to free access to the information on the state of the environment, the quality of food and household items,»– sums up Anastasia Bondarenko.