The National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum considers that by the statements made by President Maia Sandu after her official visit to Ukraine, the line of the bilateral negotiations on the management of the water of the Nistru River was clearly defined – the sustainable use of water resources, not the maximum exploitation with short-term prospects.
In a news conference at IPN, Lilia Curchi, local coordinator of the working group on environment, climate change and energy security of the National Platform, said the protection of the Nistru River is an important subject of European importance related to the regional ecological security as it supplies with water over 8 million people in Ukraine and Moldova. Knowing that the governmental teams of the two states have negotiated during many years a bilateral agreement on the functioning of the Nistrean hydropower complex, the organization that signed this statement formulated a number of demands.
Iuliana Cantaragiu, vice director of the National Environmental Center, said the negotiations on the draft agreement on the ensuring of the functioning of the Nistrean hydropower complex should be continued so as to consider the possibility of protecting the Nistru downstream of the complex, not the production of electricity. The operation of the already built hydroelectric power plants should be allowed only in the parameters of the functioning conditions of the Nistru River ecosystems.
A subject that has been discussed during many years is the conceding of about 19 ha of land on the bank of the Nistru on Moldova’s territory, upstream of the Naslavcea-Nahoreany barrage. According to Iuliana Cantaragiu, such a thing should be prevented. The intention to additionally build three turbines means more water used by the complex and less water for the Nistru River downstream of the barrage.
Ilya Trombitski, executive director of the Eco-TIRAS International Association of River Keepers, said that Ukraine should change the principle of functioning of the Novodnestrovsck hydroelectric power plant (plant I) by discharging surface water, not groundwater and should guarantee the continuous flow of water at Naslavcea so as to ensure the permanent flow capacity in the Nistru, without interruptions during the day and night. This can happen if the negotiated agreement clearly stipulates Ukraine’s obligation to keep the level of water constant during the day and night. These principles of functioning of the Nistrean hydropower complex are fundamental for the life of the Nistru River ecosystems downstream of the Naslavcea-Nahoreany barrage and for ensuring ecosystem services. They hope the group of negotiators will include Moldovan specialists so as to discuss all the aspects with the Ukrainian side.
Alecu Reniță, a member of working group No. 3 of the National Platform, noted that Ukraine’s strategy of 2016, which includes the Nistru hydrographic basin and the six barrages situated upstream of the Nistru, in Ukraine, aroused concern and the problem of the Nistru River as a result was added to the agenda of both of the states. The internationalization of the subject generates confidence that oligarchic groups that place other interests than people’s interests at the forefront will not win. A Nistru River Protection Strategy needs to be worked out by the two states. This would contribute decisively to the ecological restoration of the branches and ecosystems that were destroyed or degenerated, would encourage to extend the protected areas and to include them in a Transfrontier National Park and would favor a European program for afforesting the Carpathians as the main supplier of aquatic resources for the whole hydrographic basin of the Nistru.
The National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum brings together 95 organizations, seven of which are umbrella organizations for another 225 organizations.