1.1 The necessity for a deep water navigable canal to be constructed in the Ukrainian sector of the Danube Delta
Technical Explanations with respect to the construction of a deep water navigable canal thoroughly analysed the social, economical and strategic importance that this project could have for Ukraine.
Socially, the sudden decrease of the goods and passengers flow through the Ukrainian harbours (such as Reni, Izmail, Chilia, Vilcovo and Usti-Dunaisk), as well as the high fees to be paid when sailing along the Sulina arm, determined the collapse of the shipyards. The decrease of number of jobs, the re-orientation of the qualified workers towards other types of jobs, the deterioration of the standard of living of the population etc., determined the social-economical decline of the region.
Strategically: the construction of a deep water navigable canal in the Ukrainian sector of the Danube Delta will strengthen the military, energetic and economic Independence of Ukraine.
The existence of such a significant waterway, as Chilia, on the Ukrainian territory favours the construction of a deep water navigable canal, allowing the sailing of vessels to the sea. Loosing its own deep water navigation canal in 1997 has caused the decline of the position of Ukraine in the region.
The Government of Ukraine approved the project with respect to the creation and functioning of the national transportation network, which is an integral part of the international transportation network. The driving concept of the program as far as the water transportation is concerned is as follows: all river and maritime harbours of Ukraine belong to the international transportation network and are directly or indirectly connected with it.
The main waterway linking the harbours where terminals and transportations deposits need to be created is MKT N7 (Rhine -Main -Danube) and it includes Izmail, Reni, Ust-Dunaisk harbours.
The international community is interested in the achievement of these transportation links. This interest can be explained by economical factors imposing the shortening of the waterways linking Europe to the Middle East and North African countries. In this context, should the shortest waterway tract be created in the Euro-Asian region, Ukraine shall play an important Geopolitical role in the area.
After the deep water navigable canal shall have been constructed, Romania's monopoly in the Danube Delta shall be eliminated and conditions to lower the fees with respect to the passing of the vessels on the Danube shall be created.
Ukraine could have significant economic benefits from the transit of goods, such as other Central and North European countries have recently done.
1. All the choices with respect to the construction of a deep water navigable canal envisage for its tract to pass through a sector of the Danube Delta and of the Chilia arm, from the Reni harbor to the Chilia Harbor, and, partially or entirely, through the water area between Chilia and Vilkovo harbours.
Notwithstanding the above mentioned water sectors, all the choices can be ranked out in two categories:
- category "A" of choices, envisaging for the tract of the canal to pass on the natural channels of the active Danube;
- category "B" of choices, envisaging the construction of artificial locks canals.
The "A" category includes choices 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (chart 1.1, 1.2). The "B" category
includes: choices 1, 3,10. Choice 2, envisaging the passing of a small sector of the tract on an already existing artificial canal, has been included in the "A" category, as it doesn't provide the construction of any locks and, consequently, alluvia are likely to be generated.
2. The choices have been elaborated by various designing institutes, during various periods of time; they have envisaged the construction of a canal for the passing of variously sized vessels.
3. When elaborating the Assessment on the environmental impact, the best choice within each category has been chosen, taking into account all necessary technical and economic criteria.
4. Choice 6 within the "A" category, envisaging for the tract of the canal to pass on the Bystroe branch, is acceptable, according to the following criteria:
- dredging is least required during exploitation;
- of all the choices, this one requires for the smallest volume of soil to be dug out during construction;
- the economic efficiency of the construction.
At the same time the following favorable circumstances have been taken into account when considering this choice:
- the straight tract of the river bed, with a natural acceptable depth;
- the, rather slow advancement of the delta into the maritime area, next to the mouth of the branch.
5. Considering these criteria and according to the data of chart 1.1, choices 2 and 4 are better than choice 6. But, while the data concerning choices 2 and 4 have been calculated for a 3 m, respectively 4.5 m ship depth, the data for choice 6 have been calculated for a 7.2 m ship depth. Should choices 12 and 4 be calculated taking into account a 7.2 m ship depth, their technical and economic criteria would be less favorable, compared to choice 6.
6. The choices within the "B" category are less favorable, compared to the choices of the "A" category, considering the economic efficiency of the construction and the volume of the soil to be excavated criterion.
7. The main benefit of the choices within the "B" category is represented by the possibility to partially or entirely get the tract of the deep water navigable canal out of the active delta, thus permitting a longer exploitation of the canal. Nevertheless, the exploitation would bear constant dredging compared to the choices within the "A" category, taking into account the natural evolution of the delta.
8. Among the choices within the "B" category; choice 1 has been chosen, as choice 3 provides for the deep water navigable canal to pass through the Oceacovsk branch network, which is about to clog in the active sector of the Delta (chart 1.2). No Technical Argumentation with respect to choice, 1 0 has been yet done by the experts.
9. In order for the best choice to be selected, the Assessment on the environmental impact shall hereinafter be examining two alternative choices:
- choice 1 , envisaging the construction of a locks canal on the Solomonov
branch and Jebnansk gulf;
- choice 6, hereinafter referred to as choice 2, with the tract passing from the Vilkovo harbor to the sea, on the Starostambulsk and Bystroe channels.