UNICEF ensures clean water for children in Northern Zaporizhzhia region
Eleven-year-old Victoria and her family now have a constant supply of clean drinking water thanks to support from UNICEF
Eighteen months of war in Ukraine have caused destruction and devastation in villages, towns, and cities across the country. In the Zaporizhzhia region, damage caused by shelling left families, like that of 11-year-old Victoria, without access to drinking water.
More than 105,000 residents in the region, including almost 10,000 children, have frequently endured such water shortages.
"At one point, we had no water for an entire week. We had to store it and not use it much. Thankfully, currently, everything is fine – we have water”
Victoria lives with her parents, sister, and grandmother in a small village, where damage to the water supply system caused a drop in water pressure and left their house without water.
"Due to these interruptions, we faced numerous challenges, especially during the summer when we couldn't shower or wash our clothes. We didn't have a water tank, so we stored water in bottles and barrels”
Recently, however, the restoration of the water supply system was made possible by support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Funds helped to repair critical infrastructure, install14 pumping stations, and purchase disinfection reagents to ensure the safety of drinking water, and materials for repairing burst water pipes.
“With the recent replacement of pipes, we now have a consistent water supply in our house, summer kitchen, and bathhouse – virtually everywhere,” says Valentyna, gratefully.
In Lezhyne, where Victoria and her family live, the installation of modern equipment at a pumping station has not only automated the maintenance of network pressure but also enhanced energy efficiency, promising reduced energy costs in the future.
"UNICEF not only assisted us in restoring the damaged sections of the water supply system but also adopted a comprehensive strategy. We jointly developed a prioritized map of pipelines in urgent need of replacement and received the essential materials, equipment, tools, and even work clothes for our staff."
So far, the utility company has replaced over 2.5 kilometers of pipes in the northern Zaporizhzhia region, incorporating new chambers and valves, and establishing essential pumping stations. The water supply for this region is drawn from the upper reaches of the Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Station, where interruptions were partly caused by power outages from shelling. Thanks to UNICEF's intervention, the water utility is now better equipped to resist blackouts.
"In such a case, we have vehicles to deliver drinking water to the communities,” explains Hakobyan. “The reagents provided by UNICEF ensure high-quality water purification.”
UNICEF is committed to securing uninterrupted and sustainable access to clean water that meets the hygiene and nutritional needs of children throughout Ukraine. With the support of the USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and other valued partners, UNICEF successfully extended access to clean water to an estimated 3,000,000 people in 2023. In addition to providing essential equipment and water treatment chemicals to water utilities, UNICEF is actively engaged in the rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure.