In response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in the spring of 2014, Ukrainian officials blocked the North Crimean Canal. Opened in 1975, this 400 km canal brought water to Crimea from the Dnipro River, at Nova Kakhovka, Kherson Region. Due to poor maintenance, flows had fallen by two thirds by 2013. But it still supplied eight of Crimea’s 23 reservoirs. Since annexation, the Kremlin has settled 350,000 soldiers and their families on the peninsula, but has failed to invest in desalination plants or a water pipe from Krasnodar, Russia, already a parched region.