PIPELINE RUNS DRY
By KEREM HASAN / Chief Reporter
Water Works Authority head, Tarkan Çeki, revealed that areas running from Alsancak to Esentepe were “worst hit” – after the water distribution pipeline was damaged during work to expand the road near the Alsancak National Park last Saturday.
Mr Çeki said there were widespread water cuts in the Girne region as a result -- and said municipalities were asked to revert to using their limited local water reserves.
Mr Çeki, told this newspaper last night that he “hoped water supplies from the Geçitköy dam will be switched back on by the latest tonight” to all areas of North Cyprus, and that there was now less than 5 million m3 of water left in the Geçitköy dam, adding that they had instructed municipalities to use their local water resources.
Mr Çeki also said that repair work was ongoing to fix the 80km undersea pipeline running from Turkey to the TRNC which was damaged in January and “which is planned to be completed by the end of August”.
Answering a question as to why there were water outages in the Girne region for the past eight days, Mr Çeki said: “The fibre optic water distribution pipeline running near the Alsancak road expansion project in the National Park area was damaged, causing water cuts from Alsancak to Girne and from there to the Esentepe and Tatlısu regions.
“The damage occurred on the first day of Bayram (last Friday), and the pipe was fixed on Tuesday. However, due to other necessary work at the Geçitköy dam itself to repair the pumps in preperation for the arrival of water from Turkey, once the undersea pipe is repaired, there was another three day water cut from Wednesday to Friday (yesterday).”
Cyprus Today was contacted by dozens of expatriate residents especially in the Esentepe region regarding water cuts in different housing estates, and the ‘ban’ by the local municipality from using tankers for water deliveries.
Tom Sellberg said: “We live in Sunset Valley 24, Esentepe. A few weeks ago there was a new site connected to the water supply and then our problems started. The pressure is too low to provide water to the sites and this has resulted in us being without water regularly.
I have tried to contact the Mayor to inform him that we have no water, and I have visited the Municipality three times without success. I have also informed the first inspecting officer but we have had no reaction whatsoever.”
Another Sunset Valley resident in Esentepe, Mary May, said: “We really need help. Unfortunately we have not had water for quite a few days. We have a pipe laid but it is not delivering water to our villas. We paid all requested funds to the Mayor but we have still not got the promised water supply. In additon to that the Mayor has now stopped all water tankers from delivering to the Esentepe area. He confirmed that we would get water six hours per day but this has not happened.”
Esentepe Mayor Cemal Erdoğan, answering the concerns of local expatriates, told this newspaper: “Our water supply has been badly hit because of the limited amounts pumped to us from the Geçitköy dam, we have reverted to our local water resources and have tried to give our residents water there. However, our water wells are only able to provide 20 per cent of the total demand. There is a daily demand of 1,800 tonnes of water which cannot be met from our local resources. Unfotunately, we have had to stop water supplies to 53 housing estates in our area.
“We had banned people from ordering water from tankers and asked them to use the local water instead, after installing new intelligent water meters in the area (a pay as you use card system).
“However, because there is no water coming to us from Geçitköy and the new pipeline in Alsancak has been damaged causing further problems we are asking all residents in the area to purchase water privately from tankers until we are able to get our supply up and running again. We are hoping that the water from Turkey will begin to flow into our dam as soon as possible.”
He also added “We are the worst hit municipality. This is the fault of the state, not our municipality.”
Alsancak Mayor Fırat Ataser said that the onland pipeline that was damged this week had “caused considerable problems for the whole area”.
“We have taken measures to ensure that all our residents receive water but we kindly ask our residents not to use the local water for their gardens or to wash their vehicles. . .to use water more considerably.”
Lapta Mayor, Mustafa Aktuğ said that the onland pipeline damage did not affect Lapta itself because it had a separate water distribution pipeline. “Lapta and Karşıyaka will not be affected. However, because of our limited water supply from local resources which we have reverted to using, there will be a very limited supply to Çamlıbel, Tepebaşı and Akdeniz. We ask our residents to use water sparingly during this period,” he added.