"At first, there's no water, then no electricity, gas shortages, heating failures, sewage leaks, and intermittent internet disconnections for several hours. All of this has happened in the past couple of months. Even with the previously bad weather, snow, and flooding, I don't recall such chaos in my entire life. We laughed at the Ukrainians who spent the last winter without power. Now they have heating and water, while we're completely screwed. All the money went into the war, and they forgot about ordinary people and their problems", - said Ekaterina, a resident of Sevastopol, whose house has been left without water supply for several days.
On the evening of January 18, a heavy downpour hit Sevastopol, leading to the flooding of many homes and roads. According to the occupation authorities, the city received 13 mm of precipitation overnight, which is one-third of the usual monthly norm. The water flooded the power substation and city hydraulic units.
On the same day, there was a mass outage of electricity and water in Sevastopol and other cities in Crimea. According to the occupation authorities, electricity disruptions were due to an "emergency shutdown in the Crimean power grid". While power was restored after a few hours, some Sevastopol residents still have no access to water supply as of January 25.
The water supply situation became so critical that local "authorities" declared unscheduled vacations and weekends. According to them, the lack of water in most districts and homes in the city is related to a "powerful flooding".
"For several days, there has been no water in our house. I don't remember anything like this even in the 90s. It's cold outside, icy in some places, and we can't wash, cook, or live normally. The city is not adapted to such a life, was not prepared for this. Water delivery by trucks is organized horribly; people stand in line in the frost, argue, are angry, nervous, don't understand why it happened. The authorities only throw excuses at us and cannot explain properly why it happened, what kind of unique weather this is, that it has never happened before. The city is in total collapse", - shared Irina, a local resident, with OstroV.
She also noted that it's challenging to find bottled water in stores. Only most expensive options remain, but even they are gradually disappearing.
"The logistics aren't working properly", - complains the pensioner.
Meanwhile, in some houses, water supply is completely absent, while in others, it's provided on a schedule (two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening). However, even these "lucky ones" complain about its terrible quality.
Even children's hospitals cannot ensure water supply.
"And once again, I want to address the administration and the head of the children's complex, or maybe the government! I understand everything: a breakdown, no water supply, but the child endured for two days without making number two, and when patience ran out, there was no water even to flush the toilet, let alone wash hands! The cleaner cursed at the child and expressed her displeasure about the smell and the dirty toilet! So, I have a question, where and how should children use the bathroom in the hospital? Maybe we take them to the park, like dogs?! The city administration seems to have taken control of water delivery, but does this water not extend to the toilets? I don't want to argue, but circumstances force me", - writes Nadezhda D. on social media.
What the "authorities" say
The occupation "authorities" of Sevastopol claimed that they cut off water supply to residents allegedly due to significant water pollution.
"A lot of snow fell, and literally within a day, it melted. There was a sudden influx of dirty water from the mountains into the Chorna river, and groundwater levels rose. Indicators were exceeded by almost a hundred times. A similar natural situation occurred in Sevastopol for the last time in the 70s", - said the "governor" of the city, Mikhail Razvozhaev.
According to him, due to the rise of rivers and the runoff of mudflows, the turbidity level of the water sharply increased: if in normal mode, the suspension is 1.5 mg per liter, now it has risen to 58 mg per liter. In other words, the water became almost 60 times dirtier.
"With such turbidity of water, the speed of water treatment sharply deteriorates. That's why we stop water intakes and clean the system", - explained the occupier.
Razvozhaev announced that most Sevastopol residents will be left without running water at least until January 24.
"This forced system shutdown, necessary for water accumulation and sanitation, will allow us to resume water supply in normal mode on the evening of January 24. If we continue supplying water intermittently, the process may be prolonged for a week or more. I ask everyone to show some understanding. Those who can should stock up on water. The water supply company has been instructed to rework the logistics of water delivery to residential buildings", - added the so-called "governor" of Sevastopol.
However, the local "water supply company" gives more pessimistic forecasts: the problem with water supply in Sevastopol will be finally resolved in a week if there are no new precipitation.
As a result, the decision was made to declare January 23 and 24 as days off, and from January 22, schools and kindergartens in the city were closed. Only emergency daycare groups were operating in preschool institutions for children whose parents continued to go to work.
Water delivery in the city is organized on a special schedule. Locals say that people endure long queues in the cold to replenish their water supplies from trucks, often facing a shortage of water in the tank or the vehicle not arriving at the specified time.
"It’s chaos. There is a schedule for when water is delivered to a specific house. On January 22, we went to the spot at 3:00 p.m. About 20 people with empty containers were waiting for an hour and a half, and no vehicle arrived. All those people have families, jobs, and they just stood there.We didn’t know who to contact to resolve the issue. We live near the seaside, so we collected seawater, at least for flushing the toilet and washing hands", - said Irina, a resident of the city, to OstroV.
Some locals are particularly outraged by the fact that in some houses, water (though dirty) is supplied, while in others, it has been absent for entire days.
The "governor" of Sevastopol acknowledged that problems with water supply have different manifestations in different areas of the city. He explained this by stating that the water supply scheme in the city is "one of the most complex in Russia due to the terrain".
"These differences are due to the significant distance of some areas from the city's water distribution points, especially the peculiarities of the location of houses (in lowlands or, conversely, on elevations), as well as the number of floors in buildings. The situation is also influenced by the excitement among residents: when water starts to flow, many try to stock up for the maximum amount of time, which can lead to the water not reaching other consumers in time, resulting in reduced pressure", - he reported.
However, the most critical situation has developed in the suburbs of Sevastopol, where dozens of private houses and garden plots have been flooded. In some settlements, part of the residents had to be evacuated.
In the village of Sakhrana Holovka (a suburb of Sevastopol), an extremely difficult situation has arisen: residents were left without water and electricity for two days. Electricity was only restored on Saturday during the day, and water supply has not been restored so far.
Sakhrana Holovka’s residents even turned to the city authorities with a request for help in clearing the road to the spring, which for many is practically the only source of drinking water.
"At present, this road has turned into a continuous mud swamp, over which no vehicle can pass after rain. Morning frosts helped the residents: the mud hardened, and people were able to reach the spring to replenish their supplies. However, daytime thawing of the ice again made the road impassable. The residents of Sakhrana Holovka are appealing to the authorities to level the road with a grader and cover it with gravel", - local media report.
Reaction of local residents
Social networks and local forums are filled with messages from disgruntled residents of Sevastopol. Their main source of dissatisfaction is the water delivery system.
"Where is the water in Ostriaky??? I can't cook, can't do anything at all!!!! There is no water delivery by trucks!!!! We are forced to buy water for 150 rubles just to have a cup of tea. Maybe now, us, the city residents, will start sending water utility bills to the water supply company?", - writes Vladimir G.
"I came to Komunistychna, 40 Street today. No water truck, just a crowd of people standing with containers. It never arrived. Or rather, the truck came, but it filled the sanitation system. At least at the other four addresses where I stood in line for these two days, the trucks came, as indicated in the water utility's Telegram channel", - writes Svetlana S.
"It's been three days without water in Kyianchenko, Husieva, Shosta Bastionna Streets. And for three days, they've been feeding residents promises of water supply at a specific time. But each time, pushing back the water supply hours. And today, a new promise is scheduled from 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. It's already 8:40 p.m., and there's no water in the tap. This is mockery. I can't take a bath, can't do laundry, can't wash dishes. It's a nightmare", - writes Susanna A.
"What water delivery are you talking about??? With what? The city has allocated 20 tanks, plus assistance from the Crimean Council, 6 trucks, and 8 from the Ministry of Defense. 34 cars won't even be enough for one microdistrict. And there’s someone (let's not point fingers) who actively builds a million-person city. And only one thing could have happened, the water intake tray got 'blown away', and to prevent it from completely tearing apart, they released water at night, and since the channels are clogged, the water washed away the embankment and flooded nearby settlements (there is already a video about it and witness accounts posted online). This is negligence-based sabotage, and it's high time to call the federal investigative committee and give the whole gang a piece of our minds", - writes Dmitry G.
A video address to the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the russian federation has even benn posted online.
Many local residents blame the "authorities" for what happened, attributing the dreadful state of the city's systems to their corrupt actions.
"Officials are not just embezzling the budget but putting the lives of Sevastopol residents at risk? People's homes ended up flooded because of the theft by officials. It seems to me that this is no longer just embezzlement but sabotage", - writes Eric A.
"Dear Sevastopol officials and the management of the water supply company, I have a question for you: will there be a recalculation of utility bills for the days when water with sand and dirt was dripping from the tap, or as always, will bills be issued as if it were for diamond-quality water?" - is stated on one of the local forums.
But there are also those who try to defend the occupying authorities. Mostly, such people suggest thinking about those who constantly live without water and recalling the 90s when water supply was scheduled, and "somehow we managed to live just fine".
"Damn, why are people always dissatisfied? There's too much precipitation. If a flood starts now, where will you complain? Think of how Leningrad survived a blockade. We've become so spoiled that we're outraged there's no water in the store's toilet. I don't remember toilets in stores in the USSR. We somehow managed to live. Almost every family has a car, or even two. Well, ride to the spring, get water, or does someone owe it to you? If you don't like the governance - then deal with the resignation of the government of Sevastopol", - believes Vitaliy Zh.
"Enough of the whining already. People in villages live their whole lives without water. If you're interested, Google it. Turhenivka, Dachne, Bilokamianne, look at the supply schedules. Two hours at 5 in the morning, two at 10 in the evening. In Zaliznodorozhny, there's consistently no water in the summer. And we have kids, laundry, and cooking too. I understand it's tough, of course, for city folks to adjust to an unusual lifestyle, but you can endure", - writes Danil I.
"Poor, unfortunate people! Others have been living without not only water but also sufficient food for many years, some are freezing and perishing in the cold and dirt. How will you live in a more serious situation? Did crying and grumbling make it easier? Everything will be fine!", - believes Elena R.
"I’m curious... Why were there no such situations before, with similar, or even more powerful, precipitation...? Or all the managers are useless nowadays..?", - writes Galina G.
Many (if not the majority) of the comments are dedicated to the local "governor" Mikhail Razvozhaev, whom they criticize mercilessly and call for his resignation.
"Razvozhaev, resign!!! This person will lead the city to a humanitarian catastrophe! A few more days of water problems, and we'll have a bunch of sick kids and adults! Razvozhaev is the worst governor!" , -asserts Natalia K.
"We've never had a worse one than Razvozhaev. I'm starting to reminisce about the previous mayor with nostalgia now. He didn't do anything good for the city, but at least he didn't do anything bad", - writes Dima Ch.
"Every new governor is worse than the previous one. I wonder how many more of them we need to finally make this city uninhabitable?", - wonders Alexey Ch.
"What is happening in the city right now is the negligence of the government. There has never been flooding, all because nothing is being done. There is only a nice picture on the governmental TV channels. What has the governor and his team done for the city? Well, nothing... For how many years the historical boulevard hasn't been operational? And that's just one of many issues. I'm not even mentioning the problem with salting roads during snowfalls", - writes Ekaterina N.
As of January 24, a large part of Sevastopol still remained without water, with some homes not receiving it for 7 consecutive days.
"In the Haharinsky district, where I live, there has been no water for the sixth day in a row. Once some mud flowed from the tap for a couple of hours, and that's it. We collected it to flush the toilet. Fortunately, there's the sea water. And all these water truck deliveries are done for the cameras and in certain places, but not here. In general, the 'special military operation' is going as planned: the economy is going to hell, prices are rising, there are no tourists, no prospects, air raid alarms are sounding, drones and missiles are flying, and people (who are able to) are leaving Crimea", - states Sevastopol resident Ekaterina.
By Andriy Andrieyev, OstroV