Russian forces have been draining water from the Kakhovha Reservoir since early November 2022, through the sluice gates of the hydroelectric power plant located there. As a result, levels are at a three-decade low. They jeopardize the drinking water for hundreds of thousands of residents, irrigation for nearly half-a-million acres of farmland, and the cooling system at NPP.
According to IAEA’s Director General, Rafael Grossi, the low water level does not pose an immediate threat to nuclear safety at Zaporizhzhia and security, but it may become a source of concern if it continues.
On November 11, 2022, Russian troops blew up a road over the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Dam. The Ukrainian’s feared the explosion damaged the dam, but it did not. Soon afterwards, Russian forces deliberately used two gantry cranes on the Russian-controlled side of the dam to open sluice gates, allowing water to rush out of the reservoir.
Recent radar altimetry shows the current level is 14 meters, which is 2 meters below normal level. Ukrainian officials said if the level falls below 13.2 meters, cooling for the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant would be in peril.