Construction of Dniester Hydropower Complex impacted flora and fauna of the Nistru, study

The construction of the Dniester Hydropower Complex (DHC) by Ukraine impacted both the quality of the water in the Republic of Moldova and the natural habitat of the flora and fauna and reduced the number of species. Among effects are reduction of maximum flows by about 30% and appearance of pulsating effect known as hydropeaking (when the water level in the river increases or decreases depending on the hydropower discharges). Also, cooling of the river’s water in the hot period and warming in the cold period of the year, reduction of the level of nutrients, significant fluctuations of the oxygen level and the over-agglomeration with vegetation of the river were noted.

These are some of the preliminary findings of the study on the social and environmental impact of DHC on the Nistru River, commissioned by UNDP Moldova and developed by a team of independent experts at the initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment, with financial support of Sweden, IPN reports.

Secretary of state at the Ministry of the Environment Iordanca-Rodica Iordanov said Moldova’s position is that regulations on the functioning of the Hydropower Complex are needed and these regulations should mandatorily stipulate the monitoring and control method assumed by the Republic of Moldova. The conclusions of the study will be the subject of the October negotiations with the Ukrainian side. The regulations were, in principle, proposed by the Ukrainian side for consultations. Moldova didn’t agree with some of the components and its position is to be considered.

Hydrology expert Ana Jeleapov said the pulsating effect of waves is caused by the discharge of water from the hydropower station No. 2, owing to the functioning of the turbines. The variation in level is of 50 cm. the pulsating effect is less felt in Soroca. This effect has significant consequences for biodiversity, development of fish and also the economy. The impact on sediments that are by 95% less is another effect. The volume and flow capacity of water decreases by about 30%.

Hydrobiology expert Sergey Filipenco noted that the modification of the hydrological conditions of the Nistru led to ta significant decline of fish reserves in the river. Nineteen types of fish disappeared. The fertility of other types of fish declined.

Valentina Jamba, of the public association “Eco-Sor”, said the Nistru is also affected by the weather conditions and does not have self-cleaning capacity. Their NGOs disseminates “ecological propaganda” in all the localities situated on the bank of the Nistru so as to keep order, but the effects of water that passes through the hydropower station are too visible for the fauna and flora of the Nistru.

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