Landscape, climate and water flow
The largest part of the river basin in Ukraine lies in the Carpathian Mountains. The Danube itself flows through the lower part of Ukraine and is divided into three branches, one of which – the Kiliya – forms the border between Ukraine and Romania. The region enjoys mild winters and summers. Annual precipitation in the mountains is around 1,750 mm and 700 mm in the lowlands.
Natural highlights include: The Danube Biosphere Nature Reserve of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, is located at the Kiliya branch of the Danube in the Delta. With a total area of approximately 46,000 ha, protected areas include islands with attached areas of water and wetlands. More than 5,000 animal species live in the reserve, including pink pelicans, geese, dolphins, seal-monks, true otters and minks.
The largest part of the Tisza and Prut sub-basins is covered by forests; the rest of the land is used for agriculture, human settlements and infrastructure. There are several hydropower stations in the Tisza Basin, with a total capacity of 31,600 kWt. The Tisza River Basin in Ukraine is rich in groundwater bodies, both alluvial and karstic waters. More than 60% of the centralised drinking water supply comes from groundwater sources.
While the rivers of the Tisza and Prut Basins cannot be used for navigation, Ukraine is united with Europe by the Danube River. However, only a quarter of the potential shipping capacity on the Ukrainian part of the Danube is used. Currently, Ukraine is working to make the existing natural branches of the Danube River suitable for navigation. These activities, however, are under debate in Ukraine.
The Tisza and Prut are mountain rivers in Ukraine, and floods are therefore common. The biggest floods on the Tisza occurred in November 1998 and March 2001, when the highest water levels were recorded. Much has been done since then to improve flood protection, including installing automatic gauging stations.
Rivers in Ukraine are used as receiving waters for both urban and industrial wastewaters, although exact data on pollution is currently unavailable. For detailed information on the above, download the fact sheet below.
- Ukraine Facts & Figures (57.16 KB)
As Europe's largest remaining natural wetland, the Danube Delta is one of the continent's most valuable habitats for wetland wildlife and biodiversity, but its ecosystems are affected by changes upstream, such as pollution and the manipulation of water discharge, as well as by ecological changes in the delta itself. The Danube Delta is still spreading seaward at a rate of 24 to 30 meters annually.