Water Balance

Republic of Moldova

The Dniester River is the main source of water supply in Moldova, although groundwater remains a rather important resource for drinking water supply for cities and villages. The major water users within the Moldovan part of the Dniester Basin include the cities of Chisinau, Balti, Soroca, Orhei, Ribnita, Dubasari, Tiraspol, Bender, and the combined heat and power plant in Kuchurgan.

A number of large drinking water intakes are in operation along the Dniester River within Moldova, providing essential water to Balti, Soroca, Chisinau and Rezina, in addition to their local groundwater supplies. A large water pipeline Soroca-Balti was constructed to supply water to Balti and Soroca, though it has been virtually out of operation during the last 3-4 years. In Balti, local groundwater sources have completely substituted surface water supplies, despite the fact that the water contained in the exploited aquifer does not meet the sanitary standards for drinking water. The Moldovan capital Chisinau relies on the Dniester water conveyed by the Vadul lui Voda – Chisinau transmission line.

In 2017, the total water abstraction in Moldova from natural sources was 840 million m3, including 127 million m3 (15%) from groundwater sources. The total water abstraction in the Dniester Basin was 810 million m3 (96% throughout the country).

In 2017, the total amount of water used in the Republic of Moldova was 777.4 million m3, of which 112.7 million m3 (14%) were used for household needs, 582.8 million m3 (74%) for production needs, 41.5 million m3 (5%) for irrigation, 38.2 million m3 (4%) for agriculture and water supply for rural areas, and 2.2 million m3 for other needs. The Dniester basin accounts for 754.0 million m3 (96%) of all the waters. The total volume of discharged water in the country was 667.0 million m3, of which 661.8 million m3 (99%) were from the Dniester River Basin.



The Dniester is a major water source in the region as usable groundwater resources are relatively scarce: the projected groundwater resources are 2.025 km3 /year, accounting for about 9% of Ukraine’s total.

The major water users in the upper reaches of the Dniester Basin are Lviv, Burshtyn Thermal Power Plant, and several other municipalities. The demand for water in Lviv is partially covered by abstraction from the Stryi River. There are over ten drinking water intakes along the Dniester.  The biggest problems are encountered by drinking water intakes in Odessa, Boryslav, Stryi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, and Mohyliv-Podilskyi. The situation is particularly challenging in Odessa. By some indicators, the quality of water in the Dniester is seriously compromised by upstream wastewater discharges, to the extent that it does not meet the requirements set for drinking water sources.

As the Dniester is a sole source of drinking water supply for Odessa and surrounding areas of the region (about 2 million people), this problem is quite serious. Consequently, although the surface water quality problem in the Dniester Basin is not so pressing compared to other basins of large rivers in Ukraine, the situation in the Dniester Basin is not satisfactory.

In 2017, the total water abstraction within the Ukrainian part of the Dniester Basin was 214.1 million m3, of which only 10.7 million m3 (5 %) accounted for groundwater. The total amount of water used in Ukraine was 146.3 million m3, of which 70.6 million m3 (48.0%) were used for household needs, 61.3 million m3 (42.2%) for production needs, 5.7 million m3 (3.9%) for irrigation, and 8.7 million m3 (5.9%) for other needs. The surface water bodies of the basin received 40.8 million m3 of wastewater discharges, of which 11.8 million m3 (29.0%) received no treatment.

Activities aimed at calculating the current and future water balance in the Dniester Basin, taking into account the sectoral water requirements, were carried out in September 2014 to May 2017. In particular, a relevant methodology was developed, reviewed and approved by water authorities of Moldova and Ukraine, and a Web-based water balance calculation system was developed.