VLADIVOSTOK, Russia -- Russia's Far East, which is already suffering through a chronic energy shortfall, now has another big problem -- not enough water.
A dry summer has left reservoirs at only 10 percent of capacity, and even that supply is threatened by a planned water workers strike, Vladivostok water director Sergei Kislitsin said.
Workers at his plant have not been paid for eight months, Kislitsin said, blaming city residents who have paid less than one-third of their water bills in the past year.
The Pacific port city of Vladivostok -- located 4,000 miles from Moscow -- also suffers from a severe energy crisis, which has forced power cuts of up to 12 hours a day.
Vladivostok officials say there is a chronic imbalance between the amount of water consumed by residents and the supply. "The water supply problem has existed for decades. It should have been solved a long time ago when there was money in the region," said acting mayor Nikolai Markovtsev. He said the city is surveying the Pushkinskaya depression, a natural underground reservoir discovered 20 years ago, and hope to start pumping water from it in the spring.
Until then, emergency officials say water may be cut to all but one tap on the first floor of residential buildings -- a measure already in effect in other regional cities.
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