Ukrainian and Moldovan NGOs sent a joint letter to several international organizations, including EU and EBRD, expressing their indignation about the plans by Ukraine to construct six additional hydropower plants on Dnister river. Meanwhile, the Government of Ukraine revealed the on-going bilateral negotiations with Moldova on this issue. Apparently, supply of electricity to this neighbouring country is a possible trade-off. Yet, Dnister is one of the main drinking water sources for Moldova, so any compromise will be hard for the Government of Moldova.
These plans became public in summer 2016, when the Government of Ukraine adopted a Program for Development of the Hydropower Energy till 2026. The Ministry of Environment did not approve the draft decision, requesting first strategic environmental assessment and environmental impact assessment conclusions. Civil society demands transboundary environmental and social impact assessment. In addition, NGOs called upon various international partners to suspend any funding for these projects.
The situation about construction of new hydropower plants may lead to a long bilateral conflict. The key factor shaping future scenarios is position of the Moldovan government and of civil society. Implementation in 2003-2004 of the Danube - Black Sea shipping canal project by Ukraine became a lasting conflict with Romania, which complicates its practical use by Ukraine even today. The official reasoning by Romania is based on environmental considerations. A similar scenario for Dnister could significantly hinder options for international loans, while Ukraine is unlikely to finance such huge development projects on its own.