By Evie Andreou
TURKEY’S minister of forestry and water Veysel Eroglu arrives in the north on Friday to attend a ceremony that will add the final piece of a water pipeline from the mainland.
According to Turkish Cypriot media, Eroglu will attend the ceremony for the submersion and application of the last piece of the 80km pipeline that connects Anamur in Turkey – from where the water is sourced – to Kyrenia.
Eroglu will be briefed on the progress of the project and will later meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and other officials before returning to Turkey at around 6.30pm.
The much celebrated ‘Northern Cyprus Water Supply Project’ was deemed necessary to help cover the water and irrigation needs of the population in the occupied areas.
The project, which is under the supervision of the Water Department of Turkey (DSI), was expected to be completed earlier in the summer so that the inauguration date would be July 20, the anniversary of the 1974 invasion. But it was delayed since works were suspended in the winter due to bad weather.
The pipes are anchored at a depth of 250-280 metres below the sea, and it is estimated that around 75 million cubic meters of water per year will be pumped to Cyprus through the pipeline.
Most of the onshore infrastructure – reservoirs and pumping – has been constructed both in Turkey and in Kyrenia, while a receptor station has already been built in the Vavylas area, along with a 3.5km pipe to the dam in Panagra. A network of pipes will send the drinking water to all regions in the north, through a treatment plant in Myrtou.
The pipeline stirred reactions in the south, however, as it was deemed by many as an effort by Turkey to firm its grip in the north, while Greek Cypriot farmers have expressed fears that the supply of water from Turkey might result in a flooding of the government controlled areas with produce from the north in accordance with the Green Line regulations.
To avert possible harm to the farming sector, agriculture minister Nicos Kouyialis had informed MPs in May that a water treatment plant aiming to provide cheaper water to 26 farming communities, is currently under construction, and that the project was speeded up after the announcement of the construction of the water pipeline from Turkey.