24. September 2019

For the first time since 1953, a new guide on the handling of waters in Western Ukraine was published in Odessa on Friday, September 20th 2019. Three Ukrainian organizations, Galina Protsiv a member of Kray from Berezhany, Ternopol Obl., Victor Melnychuk, National Ecology Center of Ukraine and Svetlana Slesarenok of the Black Sea Women’s Club from Odessa developed the 160 page long compendium. The publication was also the culmination of a water dialogue project between the NGOs of Western Ukraine and the Ukrainian state water authorities about the state and development of the Dniester River flowing through Ukraine and Moldova. UfU and its long-time partner Eco-TIRAS from Moldova supported the efforts to publish the guidebook with experience and know-how. In addition to the guide, it was important to focus on tributaries in addition to the attention to the stream Dniester. Considering the entire river basin for managing of water resources, as stipulated by the EU Water Framework Directive, determined the three events with German and Moldovan participation since the spring of 2019. The discussions at the well-attended workshop on September 20th in Odessa, showed that this is far from standard. Especially the municipalities, after the transfer of responsibilities to the local level, often have interests that run contrary to the ecological and social development of the Dniester river system. Symbolically, participants at the workshop reported on how a small tributary was converted into a fish pond and now no longer flows into the Dniester.

In addition to the presentation of experiences and possible measures, the guide contains a plan for a Dniester in good condition by 2024. This is a difficult task, reported Galina Protsiv. She showed photos from 2009 and had to admit that many of the measures announced at that time got stuck. Nevertheless, she did not want to look pessimistically into the future since this is simply a reminder that they have to go forward with determination.

A first positive step was the open discussion with Lilia Grichiulevich, head of the water department for the Odessa district. Lilia Grichiulevich answered the many questions asked by the participants of the workshop, ensuring that the participants learned first-hand what the authorities are planning for the next few years. The discussion revealed other aspects, such as the fact that the conditions for reliable monitoring in Ukraine are currently not met. There is a lack of equipment and know-how. The small budget for management is lavished or misappropriated. Therefore, the Ukraine is still far from reaching its goals for water management.

In the afternoon of 20.09. Ilya Trombitzky from Eco Tiras, Galina Protsiv, Svetlana Slesarenok, Victor Melnychuk and Michael Zschiesche presented the new guide to the public in a well-attended press conference.