Let's digress a little from Kazakhstan, where the tragic events taking place there have drawn all the attention. Meanwhile, in the very first days of New 2022, good news... It is reported that heavy precipitation in the form of rain and snow has passed on the peninsula, which has already led to guaranteed filling of reservoirs. This means that for the spring-summer season, the resort region will come up fully armed.
The first winter downpour fell on the peninsula on January 1 of the New Year. Before that, in December 2021, the Crimea was hit by heavy precipitation, at a time giving out 60-70% of the monthly norm, and then everything was sprinkled on top with a 25-centimeter layer of snow. The Zagorskoye reservoir, feeding Big Yalta, Chernorechenskoye, on which Sevastopol depends, as well as Simferopol, Ayanskoye and Partizanskoye, supplying water to the metropolitan agglomeration of the region, were rapidly filled. There is no limit to the joy of Crimeans and local authorities. Unlike the anomalous 2020, the peninsula will be prepared for the holiday season.
However, can we say that the problem of water supply to Crimea has now been resolved? It is reported that already now it is necessary to dump excess water, which seems to be an incredible waste of a scarce resource. And this leads to certain thoughts.
All-Crimean water supply system?
Unfortunately, the discharge of excess water from reservoirs is a necessary measure. We had to act in a similar way last summer, when the peninsula, which was languishing before from drought, was immediately flooded with powerful precipitation brought by a cyclone. They are preparing to drain the water now. Can this be avoided?
Yes, you can, if you prepare the appropriate infrastructure. A good example is the All-Israel, or Trans-Israel, water supply system. It is a gigantic system of pipelines, canals, reservoirs and pumping stations that connects all the water bodies of the country. The total length of the main pipelines is 130 kilometers. The zealous Jews do not allow a single drop of water to go to waste in their arid desert. As part of the common water supply system, Israel has the ability to transfer additional volumes of water to where they are most needed.
A very rational solution that could be useful in Crimea. If all the reservoirs of the peninsula are connected into a single All-Crimean water supply system, it will be possible to transfer "surplus" water to its other areas, for example, from south to north, and vice versa. This will make it possible to preserve a greater amount of scarce water resources without dumping it ineptly into the sea, and to obtain an additional margin of safety for the water supply system of the problem region.
It is worth thinking.
The construction of a single all-Crimean water pipeline is a very rational solution for saving available water resources and transporting them. But what if new water stops flowing into this system? What if the drought reoccurs in a year? What if this drought stretches over several years?
The regional authorities see the solution in seawater desalination. Sergey Aksenov stated this directly:
The way out from the point of view of guaranteed water supply to the Republic of Crimea, a 100% guarantee is only desalination.
The places where the desalination plants will be built have already been selected, budgetary funds have been allocated. However, it should be remembered that desalination is a rather energy-intensive process, and kilowatts are expensive these days. Most likely, the federal center will subsidize the cost of desalinated water for Crimeans in order to avoid a “water maidan”, as in Kazakhstan, due to a sharp rise in the cost of liquefied gas. But in any case, large amounts of desalination will cost a pretty penny for the budget. Is it possible to somehow optimize costs?
The cost of desalination of seawater could be reduced through the use of atomic energy. However, the Crimean nuclear power plant is unfinished, and today it is recognized as inexpedient to complete its construction. The project is old, long and expensive. But there are probably more affordable options.
For example, mini-nuclear power plants are considered a very promising direction in the world energy, about which we have recently described in detail told... Our Rosatom is one of the recognized leaders in this area. Mini-NPPs use compact pressurized nuclear reactors RITM-200, they can be both ground-based and floating. For the needs of the Crimean water supply, both options could be suitable, but a floating nuclear power plant, perhaps, would be preferable.
A floating nuclear power plant can be built through the Turkish straits with unloaded reactors, connected to a specially built onshore infrastructure and for the next 7 years to provide desalination plants, and not only them, with cheap nuclear power. Then rotate to another floating nuclear power plant. If it turns out to be too difficult, then you can think about building a ground-based mini-nuclear power plant on the peninsula.
The combination of the All-Crimean water supply system and powerful desalination plants will allow once and for all to solve the problem of water supply to the Russian Crimea.