South Korea’s Ministry of Unification says the water it sends to North Korea will be cut from 7,000 tons to 5,000 tons a day.
This supply of water comes through a facility near a reservoir at the Kaesong Industrial Complex (GIC in Korean), where thousands of North Koreans live and work.
“North Korea suffered a severe drought in 2014 and the amount of water stored in the reservoir at the GIC has been drying up,” unification ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol told Korea Times. “The reservoir is the only source of water at the GIC and nearby region.”
“It was inevitable to cut back the water supply and Pyongyang fully understands what led us to make such a decision.”
“In the case of Kaseong, we’ve been providing water for its 300,000 citizens since 2007 because North Korea lacks civic infrastructure and asked us for support.”
In addition to the residents, there are close to 53,000 North Korean working for 124 South Korean companies in the border cities, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises at the GIC that began operations in 2004 as part of inter-Korean reconciliatory efforts.
While South Korea insists the water reduction is due to an improvement in drought conditions, both countries have had tense relations and it is not known if the water cut off was done in anger or out of spite.