Protecting Rivers in Ukraine

Small hydropower plants in Ukraine’s Carpathian Mountains are depriving communities of water.  ELAW is working with partners at Environment-People-Law (EPL) to hold the Ministry of Environment accountable.

ELAW Director John Bonine recently toured the area.  He observed:

“A small dam was built upstream of the village of Turya Poliana in the Zakarpatia region.  Water was diverted out of the river and into miles of pipe leading to a turbine, sucking the river dry.”

EPL met with villagers and learned that the investor offered households less than $5/month to forgo water access and consent to dam construction.

“We shared our findings with the Ministry of Environment and reached consensus on a list of tasks,” says Olena Kravchenko, EPL Executive Director.

The Ministry agreed to:

  • Conduct inspections at already operating hydropower plants to ensure that fishways are in use.
  • Inspect plants under construction to ensure that they are not violating Ukrainian law. 
  • Limit permission for hydropower plants in protected areas. 

EPL is forming a working group on small hydropower plant construction and will draft a resolution for Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers to better regulate small hydropower plants.

We will keep you posted on our work with EPL to protect communities in the Carpathian Mountains from hydropower schemes that sacrifice local waterways. 

If you would like to learn more about our work and how you can support ELAW, visit our website, Facebook, and Twitter

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide