Odessa stands on the shore of a huge reservoir - the blue in the world of the Black Sea. But, unfortunately, you can not drink water from it.
According to one of the versions, the name of our city comes from the French phrase “assez d'eau” ([assedo], “there is enough water”). "Odessa" - if you read the phrase the opposite. Indeed, the adequacy of water in Odessa was always the opposite. Known are the lines of Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin, who wrote that
... in Odessa wet
There is still a lack of important
What would you think? - water!
The surface waters used by residents of cooler regions evaporate in our hot summer climate, and the rains that feed them do not occur very often. Odessa was rescued by fountains, but delivering water to the city center from its then suburbs was far, and therefore expensive. The water supply system, whose construction was completed by Timofey Kovalevsky in 1853, significantly reduced the cost of water delivery, but could not solve the problem in principle: the same fountains that could not provide the right amount of water for a growing city were the source for the water supply system. Artesian springs became real savior of the waterless Odessa.
What is artesian springs? They received their name from the French province of Artois (Artesia in the Latin version). It was there that in 1126 the world's first pipe-secured well was drilled. However, the main fundamental difference in the use of artesian water is not in the construction of the well, but in the fact that it is pressure water.
Artesian water is groundwater enclosed between waterproof layers and under pressure. If you drill a mine from the surface of the earth to the aquifer, the artesian water rises upward, and sometimes even gushes forth like an oil fountain, which the reader has often seen on TV. Therefore, probably, the organization that took over the water supply in Odessa was called “the Society of artesian fountains”. A society was formed in 1831, at the same time on its initiative four wells with a depth of 36–189 meters were drilled. Incidentally, these were the first artesian wells in Russia - only the following year, similar mines appeared in St. Petersburg, the capital of the then empire.
In early September 1873, the grand opening of the Dniester-Odessa water pipeline took place. At that time it was the most advanced water supply in Europe, it could give up to two million buckets of water per day. For many years, the lack of water in Odessa was forgotten.
During the Great Patriotic War, the Nazis seized a pumping station in Belyaevka near Odessa and stopped the flow of water into the city. Many saw the film “Thirst”, in which a detachment of sailors seized a pumping station and held it for several hours, during which water flowed into the city, filling every possible reserve tank. In fact, the situation was somewhat different from that presented in the film. There was no such great need for water, as shown in Thirst. Indeed, there were cards on the water. But at the same time there were sources in Dyukovsky Garden, on the Polish descent there is a source now. Indeed, the inhabitants came out with cans for the water that they brought. Not everyone wanted to go a few blocks from Deribasovskaya to the Polish descent - after all, the same water was brought straight to the house. They took water from those sources that they used in Odessa before the water pipeline was put into operation.
Each plant had its own artesian well, and there were more than three hundred plants in Odessa. Before the revolution, every entrepreneur who built the plant had to drill an artesian well in its territory.
In fact, a detachment of reconnaissance saboteurs was sent to the raid not to capture the pumping station, but to disorganize the enemy’s rear. Returning back, the scouts discovered a pumping station. The detachment eliminated the Romanian guard of the facility and sent a radiogram to Odessa that there was an idea to launch water into the city. However, the Odessa water supply system was switched to water supply from artesian wells. It would be necessary to carry out many activities to rebuild the system - a few hours would not be enough for this. Therefore, without at all detracting from the feat of the Soviet intelligence officers, we recognize that quite traditional artesian springs supplied water to the surrounding Odessa.
After the war, the main means of water supply again became the Dniester water supply, the capacity of which increased every year, and the number of existing artesian wells decreased. In the late 80s, when I was a child, we went with our parents for a deep-well water to a source to a monastery on Cape Big Fountain. A few more wells worked in the sanatoriums of the same area and (somewhat closer to the city center) in the Maxim Gorky sanatorium at 16 Big Fountain Station. However, the water in these wells came from deeper, which means more mineralized layers of the underground lake. It was medicinal water, which would constantly be harmful to drink.
A new stage in the use of artesian water was in the years 2001–2003, when a number of new wells were drilled in different parts of the city and a pump room was built over them. When the first of them was put into operation, no one could have imagined that they would become so popular. Every day, people come to the pump room. One such source gives 15−20 cubic meters of water per day. If we fill this railroad tank with this water, which was obtained in just 1 year, we will get a whole train length of 12 kilometers.
Now in Odessa there are 13 pump rooms, and according to the draft of the new master plan, their number will increase to several dozen. This means that the inhabitants of Odessa and the guests of our glorious city will be able to continue to drink the healing artesian waters that have saved Odessa from the day it was founded.