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“Crimea can be independent in terms of water supply, but it will cost 10-15 billion roubles ($247-417 million),” he said on Monday, April 28.
One of the solutions would be supplying water from Russia’s southern Kuban region by building a pipeline. However, Belousov said this would be an “exotic” option.
Another solution would be “drilling wells and using the existing water reservoirs”.
The Ukrainian authorities reduced water supplies to Crimea last week alleging the peninsula owned Kiev a large sum for water.
However, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov said restrictions on the supply of water to Crimea were an act of sabotage on the part of Ukraine.
“Ukraine’s act of sabotage to limit the supply of water to the republic through the North Crimean Canal is nothing but a deliberate action against Crimeans,” he said.
Aksyonov said “negotiations are underway with Ukraine at the federal level” to resolve the issue. “There are backup plans. In any case, Crimea will not be left without water. As for drinking water, there are no problems with it,” he said.
“The federal budget is ready to compensate agricultural producers for possible losses,” Aksyonov said. He recalled that this issue had been discussed with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. “Special conditions have been created for Crimea. No one will be left without help,” the prime minister said.
“We are also considering an alternative plan for drilling wells and we are working on this day and night,” he added.
Aksyonov stressed that “the persons who have seized power in Ukraine, including former residents of Crimea, Senchenko and Kunitsyn, are acting like enemies trying to cause their former fellow citizens harm. But they will get a proper assessment from the people of Crimea and will always be persona non-grata in the republic. Usually, those who mischief hatch, mischief catch,” he said.
According to Ukrainian news agencies, Kiev has shut down the work of the North Crimean Canal which carried water from the Dnepr to Crimea. The peninsula got 85% of fresh water from this canal, which was built in 1961-1971.
“There is no and will be no shortage of drinking water in Crimea. But there will certainly be losses in agriculture. We can’t say that the agricultural season has been wrecked, but there will certainly be losses,” Temirgaliyev said.
He said work was underway to draft a drip irrigation programme to save water. “We hope it will be implemented by the next agricultural year,” he added.