Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine has had more than just a business component for Oldenburgisch-Ostfriesischer Wasserverband (OOWV). Not only have the costs of various supplies increased significantly - in some cases by several times of their pre-war price. The personal situation of the people, particularly in Sumy and Chernihiv, also personally touches many OOWV employees. OOWV has solidarity partnerships with both cities and is supporting the continued operation and reconstruction of the local water infrastructure. After the last visit in February, it was time for another visit by Ukrainian experts to their partners from OOWV.
"Our Ukrainian colleagues talked to us about concepts for new drinking water and wastewater facilities," reports project manager Tammo Janßen. "We also analyzed damage patterns from the inspection of sewers and shared our experiences with ultrasonic water meters."
In addition to technical exchanges, the program included a visit to the OOWV waterworks in Marienhafe and a trip to the Eifel-Rur water association in Aachen, Chernihiv's twin city.
Olaf Sonnenschein, OOWV Regional Manager for the districts of Wesermarsch and Cuxhaven, also took part in the 6th German-Ukrainian municipal partnership conference in Leipzig together with Oleksii Zhukov, Chief Engineer of the water supplier from Sumy. Both presented the work of their solidarity operator partnership at the expert forum of the utility platform. (see article on the German-Ukrainian municipal partnership conference in Leipzig) "The participation of the German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze and the Mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klitschko shows how highly regarded the exchange at municipal level and between the water and wastewater associations is. I was particularly impressed by the confidence, commitment and willpower of the Ukrainian and German partners to shape the future of Ukraine and Europe together," emphasized Olaf Sonnenschein.
At the same time, Tammo Janßen and the delegations from Sumy and Chernihiv attended the "Rebuild Ukraine 2.0" congress in Warsaw to discuss concrete improvements for the partner companies with exhibitors and other Ukrainian water operators.
Furthermore, water and wastewater utilities in Poland were visited in order to gain further experience for the reorientation of the partner companies. One of the visited water opreators is located in the town of Otwock, east of the capital, where a conventional waterworks and a sewage treatment plant were visited. Of particular interest here was the faeces reception and digester gas production. On the next day in the town of Kobylka, north-east of Warsaw, there was an exchange with the mayor and the town's newly founded water supplier. Kobylka has been using a water treatment system installed in 5 containers for three years, which supplies around 15,000 people. This type of water supply could be of interest for rural structures and represents an alternative to solid construction.
The intensive exchange during the days spent together and the reports from the Ukrainian colleagues from their home country encouraged the OOWV employees to continue on the partnership path they have taken so far.