Representatives of the Crimean authorities have repeatedly stated that one of the reasons for the water shortage in Crimea is losses on the networks: technological ones due to the deterioration of water supply networks and commercial - in other words, illegal connections. Back in November, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Marat Khusnullin noted that one of the points of the comprehensive program for the water supply of Crimea and Sevastopol should be a program of accounting and control to combat illegal connections and water intakes.
A little later, in January, it became known that two unique laboratories on wheels would appear in the Crimea, which will be aimed precisely at identifying losses - technological and commercial.
Olga Ryabenkaya, Sales Director of the State Unitary Enterprise of the Republic of Kazakhstan Voda Kryma, told RIA Novosti Crimea about why the water shortage has formed in Crimea, how losses in the networks complicate the already difficult situation and what threatens those who decide that it is not necessary to pay for water.
- There are a lot of theories about the causes of water shortage at the moment in Crimea. And yet, what factors, in your opinion, influence the fact that the peninsula suffers a "water" disaster?
- Crimea, due to its geographical location and climatic features, has always been a water-deficient region in Russia. In fact, the entire republic is fed from those sources that depend on natural conditions. Dry periods are repeated at regular intervals. This is a cyclical nature, and it has nothing to do with the North Crimean Canal. Yes, the North Crimean Canal was a good help, but mainly water from it was used for agricultural needs, and for domestic and drinking water, local sources are used: from reservoirs, the filling of which depends on climatic conditions.
It is clear that in this format we must especially save, conserve, and use water rationally.
- How critical is the situation with losses, how do they affect the water situation in Crimea?
- The amount of losses is somewhere around 50%. That is, it is wasted water. Of course, this percentage can vary depending on seasonality, territory and wear and tear of networks. The main reason for losses is high wear and tear of networks. We have networks at the enterprise that were laid back in 1927.
Also, a lot of losses arise from the annexed territories of the countryside. For example, earlier in our service there were only 11 cities, since 2015, on behalf of the leadership of the Crimea, we began to take rural territories into our households. For example, last year the Lenin branch "came" to us, and these are 33 villages in which the networks are 90-100% worn out and require replacement. We prioritize work in this direction: we promptly eliminate accidents, carry out major overhauls of networks, replace sections of networks and initiate the inclusion of work in targeted investment programs and FTP, inventory, and take other measures.
- What about the situation with commercial losses, or, more simply, with the theft of water?
- Unfortunately, we record the facts of unauthorized connection to our networks practically every day. Sometimes we even carry out special operations to identify them, because human cunning knows no bounds. Even in apartments they steal, you will not believe, we have a number of cases when magnets are applied to stop the metering device, dishwashers and washing machines are connected, even toilets are connected to water meters, they are cunning. Steal from themselves
- What threatens unaccounted subscribers in this case?
- Theft is theft, so illegal connection to the water supply system is punishable by rather big fines. Let's say that over the past year, according to the results of inspections of subscribers, legal entities, enterprises and the population, about 277 million fines were charged.All fines are calculated according to the throughput of the pipe, with round-the-clock use at a water speed of 1.2 meters per second, for a period of time during which unauthorized use was carried out, but not more than three years.
For example, the average fine for individuals is within 100 thousand exactly when connected to water, and if there is an illegal connection to the sewage system, then the fine increases tenfold.
For legal entities, this amount is much higher.
Unfortunately, most of the subscribers do not pay these amounts on a voluntary basis. We have to resort to coercive methods. During the identification of such citizens, we also inform the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the environmental prosecutor's office. There are people who try to prove their case to the last. There was such a case in Evpatoria, the subscriber unlocked until the last, there were lengthy negotiations, but in the end he paid a 400 thousand fine.
- By what principle are the inspections organized and how is the procedure itself going?
- It may seem that subscriber checks are being carried out in a chaotic manner, but this is not the case. The work is organized according to audit plans and based on certain analytical work.
Here we take a snapshot of the population, constantly check the nature of consumption, seasonality, monthly volume and other factors. For example, there is a private house that consumes two cubic meters of water per month. But this is unrealistic. According to its size, the number of residents, the consumption of the personal plot should be at least in the region of 10-20 cubic meters. We analyze it all and send it to the "dubious" address of our specialists with instruments for verification. And this sampling happens all the time. If it is confirmed that the subscriber is indeed connected illegally, we send the subscriber a notification and give a day for the connection to be dismantled. Otherwise, we shut off the water ourselves for three days.
So that the inspectors do not "get blurry" their eyes and there is no opportunity to come to an agreement and eliminate the corruption component, we often practice rotation of inspection teams. For example, we "throw" the inspection from Bakhchisarai to Nikolaevka.
- Were there any cases when subscribers behaved aggressively and defended the legality of their actions?
- Several years ago we checked one private trader with whom we fought for a long time due to illegal connection. When we arrived with an excavator to turn off the water for him, he began to throw himself under it. We immediately called the district police officers, because we understood how all this could end. Even the lives of our employees were in jeopardy.
Usually, when a person realizes that he has been "covered" and he will have to legalize, he begins to behave aggressively. Therefore, in such cases, knowing that the subscriber is problematic, we send a group of controllers and invite law enforcement officers. It was such that they simply closed the controller in the room, swore, fought. People are different, and everyone's upbringing is different.
- Why do you think people believe that water is a common resource, a national property? Maybe that's why such aggression towards your employees?
- No doubt, water is a national property and belongs to everyone. But we do not take money for a natural resource, the tariff is formed taking into account the costs of the enterprise for bringing water to marketable form - extraction, cleaning, transportation … These are also rather big costs, and it is our priority to do everything to turn water losses into our income and in favor of people.
- According to the latest information, two "laboratories on wheels" were purchased for the "Water of Crimea" specifically to combat losses. Tell us more about them.
- The Crimean authorities decided that for one of the vectors of work to eliminate water shortages, we need such machines. We formed our "Wishlist" for the technological equipment of the machine and handed it over to the manufacturer in the form of an application. First of all, we asked to equip the machines so that it would be possible to do what cannot be done by the hands of our employees.For example, there are leaks that cannot be seen even with certain tools. Water goes into the ground. So thanks to these TV inspections, it will be possible to identify hidden leaks and cunning illegal connections, by the way.
One machine is "sharpened" just for technological losses, and the other - for commercial ones. On the whole, about 40 million rubles were spent on cars. We can say that this technique is the first experience not only for Crimea, but also for Russia. And in just a few days of work, we have already found 22 leaks, and five facts of commercial violations that would have gone unnoticed earlier.
- Will it be necessary to somehow additionally train the specialists of the enterprise to work on this equipment?
- We have over 30 units of various specialized equipment at our enterprise, but it is clear that it is already partly obsolete. When we received the equipment, specialists from Krasnodar came to us and trained our employees to work on the new equipment. There were both theoretical and practical lessons. These machines will now be operated by six employees, armed with all instructions and visuals.
- But still there are only two cars, in what priority will they be sent to work?
- So far, the priority vector of work is, of course, Simferopol and the 39 settlements adjacent to it. Certain plans have been drawn up, which are updated every day as needed, and taking into account the changing situation, and the experience gained. In general, specialists almost always start from water supply sources, technologically this is logical and correct. First, along the main lines, and then the diluting ones, then small "vessels" are examined. All identified losses will be promptly eliminated, due to this, the debit of water will increase, and subscribers will receive more of it. I think that after a while we will either leave the schedules, or the number of hours of water supply will be increased.
The plans for checking illegal connections include car washes, large catering facilities, restaurants, various spa complexes, etc.
- Still, what do consumers need to do now in order to minimize losses and cultivate a careful attitude towards water?
Building a culture from childhood, installing metering devices that disciplines and makes you save water, can also help you manage your budget.
Usually the subscriber is charged for water according to the standard. It turns out that he doesn't care how much water has flowed under the bridge. But when a water meter appears, not only does consciousness come to a person and he clearly sees how much water he spends, it also saves the budget. For example, people have an active life, and they do not appear at home. Without a water meter, they will pay for 23 cubic meters (for two people per month), but they will not use up that much. And so they will put a water meter, and they will calmly pay for 2-3 cubic meters. We strongly encourage our subscribers to install water meters. We even often carry out the action "water meter for 1 ruble".
And of course, you need to often check the health of plumbing fixtures, adjust the maximum occupancy of both dishwashers and washing machines, air nozzles and other appliances. For example, toilet cistern leaks can be up to 60 cubic meters. Especially if it happens somewhere in the office and everyone disclaims responsibility.
- You mentioned that thanks to the complex work, we can later move away from the schedules or weaken them. Can we talk about the timing of such a decision today?
- Unfortunately, it is too early to make any serious forecasts. It will also be unfair to give guarantees on time, I cannot take on such responsibility. It should be understood that all this will give results only in combination. The Russian government has placed the water supply in Crimea under special control. In general, these are 14 measures, and the priority is precisely to minimize losses.
Yes, there will be a big effect when the networks are replaced.The length of the networks is enormous, the wear is high, and when the networks are replaced, when all the valves are in working order, then it will be easier to cut off a certain area and generally it is easier to regulate the water supply. And now, during leaks, we have to "cut off" the supply of water to consumers in blocks.
But in any case, the result will be. Day by day, step by step, we will go to minimize losses, both technological and commercial. And, of course, we count on the conscientiousness of the subscribers so that they do not steal, they will promptly report if it is flowing somewhere, so that they do not show indifference. We are all participants in this process. Only we are on one bank, as a resource provider, a subscriber on the other.
Interviewed by Varvara Kovaleva