Ukraine Emergency Relief: Ongoing Projects, Challenges and Long-Term Reconstruction

On August 19, 2022, another online update on emergency aid for Ukraine took place. The two GWP member companies Siemens AG and Herborner Pumpentechnik GmbH & Co KG as well as the Verband Kommunaler Unternehmen e.V. (VKU) presented the status of their aid projects to a total of 22 interested participants. The focus was on what has already been achieved, how difficulties have been overcome, and the possibilities for further support in the supply of aid. In the discussion that followed, the focus went beyond current emergency aid to long-term reconstruction.

Accelerated deliveries to maintain critical infrastructure

Anja Eimer began by presenting Siemens’ emergency aid program. Together with operators on the ground in Ukraine, they are working to maintain critical water and wastewater infrastructure for residents by accelerating the delivery of urgently needed spare parts. Her colleague Sergey Dvornik (Siemens Ukraine), live from Kiev, gave an insight into the scale of destruction of critical infrastructure and highlighted which cities are in a particularly precarious situation. Siemens practices a special prioritization workflow for the delivery of materials for critical infrastructure and is working with TU Berlin with a digital twin.

Logistical and financial challenges

Vera Polyakova of Herborner Pumps referred to the precarious case of the city of Mykolaiv, whose only two water mains have been destroyed, leaving the 480,000 inhabitants without drinking water. New pumping stations and treatment plants are urgently needed. Herborner Pumpen already provided a mobile water treatment plant for transport to Ukraine 2.5 months ago, but there are major logistical and financial challenges.

“Water Industry helps Ukraine” continues

Following on from this, Dr. Britta Ammermüller from VKU reported on the many hurdles, including bureaucratic ones, which have to be overcome in providing emergency aid to the Ukrainian water industry. Within the framework of the initiative “Water Industry Helps Ukraine“, which is supported by the VKU, for example, duplicate requests from Ukraine have to be bundled or transport routes have to be constantly rechecked. VKU uses Deutsche Bahn’s rail bridge to deliver the required technology. The latter has set up four pick-up stations in Germany where containers are filled with relief supplies that are then delivered to Ukraine via the rail network. Since the containers are not taken away until they are full, there are always severe delays in the delivery of aid. Questions need to be answered here: Where do the aid supplies arrive, where were they originally needed, and can they be forwarded under changed circumstances if they are then needed more urgently elsewhere?

The VKU – with the support of GWP and other associations – has coordinated the emergency aid measures for the Ukrainian water industry to date with great commitment on the part of its employees. Numerous discussions are underway with potential partners such as the Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and federal ministries to shape future emergency aid.

Looking to the future

In her speech, Gunda Röstel, Chairwoman of the GWP Board of Directors, also looked to the future, emphasizing in particular the importance of considering issues such as modernization and European standards in the efforts to rebuild the Ukrainian water sector.

GWP would like to thank VKU and all participants for their great work in the emergency aid for the Ukrainian water and wastewater supply!