Water resources in Ukraine are described as “sufficient”. However, this masks widespread regional variations. In areas such as Donetsk, a large city in Eastern Ukraine, the demands of mining and steel industries have placed a severe strain on water resources in the past. Pollution from heavy industry has also impacted on the quality of surface and groundwater.
Miller Brands Ukraine, GIZ and WWF came together in 2009 to tackle water issues facing Miller Brands Ukraine and other water users in the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine. To understand the water risks facing the city, a risk assessment of the Severtsky Donets and Kalmius River Basins were carried out. Donetsk draws its water largely from the Severtsky Donets River Basin via an inter-basin canal, although some heavy industry, such as mines and the steel works, also draw water from the Kalmius, a smaller river which rises just outside the city and runs through the city. Much of the city discharges its used water into the Kalmius River. The assessment demonstrated that the Kalmius was suffering from pollution, particularly from mining water.
To understand the risks facing the Miller Brands Ukraine brewery, located in Donetsk, the partnership initiated a “Business Water Risk Assessment” to understand the causes, likelihood and impact on the business of a series of potential water risks.
After a year of risk assessments and discussions with local stakeholders, priorities were identified for collective action. These priorities related to improving the management and protection of the Kalmius River.
The novelty and progressiveness of the partnership approach as well as the clear need to improve the watershed management in the Donetsk region encouraged the local administrations, NGOs and other businesses to become engaged with the partnership.
This year, the partnership has been at the forefront of establishing the Kalmius River Basin Council, comprised of stakeholders including local government, industries and NGOs, that can work together to tackle industrial pollution in the Kalmius River. Thanks to the Water Futures partnership, the council has now been legally set up. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is also conducting a study to identify approaches to ensure the financial and operational sustainability of the Council.