About the region

3_d0b3d0bed180d0bed0b4d0b0The Dniester River is a transboundary river with a length of 1380 km, which starts in the Ukrainian Carpathians, flows through Moldova and reaches Ukraine again near the Black Sea. The Dniester Basin extends into the territories of 7 Oblasts of Ukraine (Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsy, Ternopil, Khmelnitsk, Vinnytsia, and Odessa), covering 13% to 80% of their areas. Within Moldova, the Dniester Basin covers the major part of country’s area (59%), with its 19 districts and one territorial unit, located in the left-bank part of the Basin, being drained by the Dniester River, fully or partially. There are 62 towns and 95 townships in the Ukrainian part of the Dniester Basin, and 2 municipalities (Municipias) and 41 towns within the Moldovan part of the Basin, both on the left and right banks of the river.

The upper and lower reaches of the Dniester River flow within Ukraine over the total length of 629 km, a 225 km river section is shared between Ukraine and Moldova, and 475 km of its length lie within the borders of Moldova. Only a very small upper part of the Strviazh River (a left tributary of the Dniester) lies within the territory of Poland.

The total population of the Dniester Basin within Ukraine and Moldova is4_d0bed0b1d0bbd0b0d181d182d0b8 over 7 million people. Over 5 million people live in Ukraine and 2.74 million people in Moldova. The population density in the Dniester Basin (over 110 people/km2) is higher than the average for the Eastern European countries. The administrative centres of Ukrainian Oblasts (Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil) and major industrial centres (Drohobych, Boryslav, Stryi, Kalush, Stebnik) are located in the upper part of the Dniester Basin. Major cities in the middle part of the Dniester Basin include Chisinau, Balti, Soroca, Orhei, Ribnita, Dubossary, Tiraspol, and Bendery. The Dniester is the source of drinking water for an additional 3.5 million people, living outside of the Basin area, i.e. in Chernivtsy and Odessa.

Within the Moldovan part of the Basin, the Dniester River is the source of water for the populations and industries of the following urban centres: Balti, Chisinau, Soroca, Orhei, Ribnita, Dubossary, Tiraspol, Bendery.

d0bfd0b0d0b2d0bed0b4d0bed0baThe Dniester is currently facing severe environmental problems due to pollution and impacts associated with the water flow regime. The environmental degradation of the Dniester River is made worse by the frozen Trans-Dniestrian conflict, which inter alia impacts negatively on the use of joint infrastructure for wastewater treatment. The problem takes on transboundary dimensions as polluted water flows into Moldova from Ukraine and thereafter back into Ukraine again and is discharged into the Black Sea south-west of the city of Odessa.

5_d0b7d0b0d0bad0b0d182During Soviet times the water basin was managed as one system but since 1991 Moldova and Ukraine have been separately managing their respective parts. The  Bilateral Agreement Between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the Republic of Moldova regarding the Joint Use and Protection of Border Waters was signed in 1994 and a Meeting of Plenipotentiaries was instituted as a cooperative mechanism. The Agreement and its institutional mechanism is in need of revision and modernization, especially taking into account modern principles of Integrated Water Resource Management and the need to develop public participation in decision making. As both Ukraine and Moldova aim to become members of the European Union, the EU Water Framework Directive is important as a guideline for future developments.