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The future of Cyprus’ water supply

The tender process has been completed for a unique project to transport water from Turkey to north Cyprus using a system of underwater pipelines.  The aim is to annually carry 75m cubic meters of water from the Alaköprü Dam in Mersin to Geçitköy Dam near Girne. To do this a pipeline 78km in length has to be constructed, mainly under the sea. The expectation is that 15m cubic meters will be used as tap water and the remaining 60m cubic meters will be used for irrigation.

The project has been in the pipeline happy for more than 11 years and the first stage will be the construction of Alaköprü Dam in Mersin this year. This means that the actual pipeline is a long way from being a reality and there is some doubt as to whether that part of the project would go ahead if the Cyprus Talks resulted in the formation of a United Cyprus Republic.

However, in the south their water problems are far from over even though the drought which has been affecting the them for several years has been alleviated and several dams are now overflowing. Over December, in the south, unrestricted water use has meant increased water usage and although GCs were considering suspending water restrictions, because of the increased amount of rainfall over the past three months, this increased water use appears to show that when people think there is lots of water, they don’t feel the need to economise. This means that restrictions may continue despite there apparently being water in abundance.

According to some environmentalists, in the future water is going to be scarce and may take on the same importance as oil. The north are at least launching a project to try to avoid droughts in the future but the same does not seem to apply in the south.

The preliminary tender for a project to transport water to northern Cyprus via a system of underwater pipelines from Alaköprü Dam in Mersin’s Anamur district has been completed.

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The plan, which is called the “dream project” and is the first of its kind in the world, is aiming to carry 75 million cubic meters of water annually from the Dragon River to Geçitköy Dam near Girne through a pipeline 78 kilometers in length. Around 15 million cubic meters of this water will be used as tap water, whereas the remaining 60 million cubic meters will be designated for irrigation purposes.

The manager of the State Waterworks Authority (DSİ) 6th Region, Numan Doğan Gündüz, told the Anatolia news agency that the project has been in the planning stages for more than 11 years. The construction of Alaköprü Dam will commence in 2010, Gündüz noted. First proposed in 1998, the Alarko company won the tender for the project.

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