There are fears that TRNC could run out of water in summer

There’s a warning this week that the Corona crisis could leave the country facing a new drought this summer, by delaying repairs to the broken undersea pipeline which supplies water direct from Turkey.

The pipeline, supposed to pump 75 million cubic metres a year, snapped on January 10, near the Anamur coast of Turkey. Strong underwater currents have been blamed.

Speaking to Cyprus Today, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said he was “concerned” the pipeline may not be fixed by the planned time of August.

Senior officials revealed there is currently 15 million m3 of water left in the Geçitköy dam, believed to be enough to last until August.

Mr Tatar, asked to comment on speculation that North Cyprus could run dry, said:

The Coronavirus crisis has impacted negatively on all plans of different countries. There is an unprecedented crisis. We are continuing talks with Turkey concerning the pipeline issue, however Turkey is supporting us in many other fields as well as attending to its own issues. The TRNC is in need of this water supply by the summer season, otherwise it will be forced to turn to utilising underwater reserves.

Municipalities head Mahmut Özçınar said that if the pipeline was not fixed by August as planned prior to the pandemic, there was a need for the “Government to take urgent measures now”.

This will mean calling on people to use less water, in order to slow down decreasing water levels at our main dam and prolong its fullness level, he said.
Necessary planning and technical preparations by municipalities need to be done so that municipalities can revert to the old system,whereby they use their own underground water reserves, which have not been touched for a year, he said.

Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister, Dursun Oğuz, issued a fresh warning this week, saying there was enough water in the dam to last until August.

God willing, the fixing of the pipeline will not surpass August. I do not even want to think about what will happen in such a scenario. Mr Dursun added that the tender process to fix the pipeline – which will be paid by Turkey – was continuing.

Called the “Project of the Century” and opened by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in October 2015, the pipeline runs 250m underwater and is constrained with weights and cables. Mr Erdoğan had also called on the Greek Cypriots to take advantage of the high quality water and said he would call it “Peace Water” at the inauguration ceremony.

In February, Turkish Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister Emirali Deveci had said that “work is continuing” to fix the pipeline and he had called on people “not to worry”. He said that there was a “programme” to fix the pipe prepared by the Turkish Government.


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