Cyprus Mail

Water dues rise in 2016

Overdue payments to the water development department rose by 3.9 per cent in 2016, to €122.4 million, according to the auditor-general, mainly because of a rise in local authorities’ debt for purchases of drinking water and distribution to Turkish Cypriot consumers.
The auditor’s report said overdue payments rose by €5.1m in 2016 compared with €118.2m in 2015, as local authority debt increased by €2.3m for drinking water and €2.2m for water distributed to Turkish Cypriot consumers.
The remaining debt, some €10.9m, plus €11.7m in interest (€106.9m, plus €10.9m in interest in 2015) concerned payments for water used in irrigation.
Around €16.8m, plus €2.9m in interest, was owed by the water boards of Nicosia, Limassol, and Larnaca, the report said.
Some €43.8m, plus €8.4m in interest, is owed by municipalities and community councils, along with €3.4m plus €443,307 in interest by other consumers.
A sum amounting to €46.4m represents the value of water provided to Turkish Cypriots over the years, which, in line with a political decision, is not billed.
The water development department has asked for this amount to stop being recorded as a debt, the report said.
The report said local authorities ‘continue to bill and collect water charges from consumers without paying the money to the department’.
Most of the money, €10.9m is owed by Ayia Napa with Aradhippou not so far behind at €8.4m.
The report said the department is looking to take legal action against local authorities while at the same time striking agreements for the gradual repayment of their dues. However, most local authorities that enter into deals do not honour them, resulting in their debt piling up.

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