Lake Sasyk, which lies between the deltas of the Danube and Dniester Rivers, was closed off from the Black Sea in the 1970s as part of a Soviet project to provide irrigation for surrounding agricultural land.

Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) and local NGO Vozrozhdenye (Revival) will hold a protest at the lake on August 24 to call for the 14km dam to be opened.

They say that the area has turned into an “ecological and social disaster zone” as a result of the dam’s construction.

Lake Sasyk, which is a Ramsar wetland and was once home to a health resort, was cut off from the Black Sea in a bid to create a freshwater lake that would provide irrigation for the surrounding villages.

However, WECF and Vozrozhdenye say the project did not succeed, destroying the ecosystem and the local tourist industry.

Anna Samwel, a project officer for WECF, told edie that the two NGOs want to see a decision taken to decommission the dam before their protest ends.

She added: “After decommissioning, WECF and Vozrozhdenye think that the Ukrainian authorities should help to provide safe drinking water for the surrounding villages as a first priority.

“A pipe from the Danube through Sasyk can provide the villages and Tatarbunary with drinking water. The feasability study is ready.

“Vozrozhdenye prepared a plan for sustainable development of the region after the decomissioning with several recommendations to the authorities, such as providing access to safe water and sanitation, development of ecological tourism on the sea coast and sustainable solid waste management.

“This sustainable development is very important to avoid new environmental problems due to the many tourists that will come.”

Kate Martin

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