Turkey prepares to send water to Turkish Cyprus

Turkey prepares to send water to Turkish Cyprus

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey prepares to send water to Turkish Cyprus

The Manavgat River in the southern province of Antalya is famous for its waterfalls. Turkey has been trying to sell its water to Israel and some Arab countries. AA photo

Turkey plans to complete a drinking-water pipeline to tackle water shortages in Turkish Cyprus by March 2014, Waterworks Minister Veysel Eroğlu has said.

The underwater pipeline may even be extended to the Middle East, to Gaza in particular, he said, referring to a never-realized “Peace Water” project dating back to the second half of the 1980s, daily Akşam reported on March 23.

The four-phase project kicked off with the groundbreaking of the Anamur Alaköprü Dam in the southern province of Mersin, which is directly across from Cyprus on the Mediterranean coast.

The Geçitköy Dam groundbreaking ceremony, the second phase of the project at the other end of the pipeline in Kyrenia, will be held March 30, the minister said. The other two phases involve the construction of land facilities and the 80-kilometer pipeline. The total pipeline will measure 107 kilometers from one dam to the other.

The pipeline will provide 75 million cubic meters of water per year to Turkish Cyprus, while the cost of the project will be 850 million Turkish Liras, the minister said.

With this project Turkish Cyprus will not have a water shortage problem until 2060, he said.

“We have plenty of water. If there is peace on the island, we can transfer enough water to the Greek side as well. Do not worry, we [will] transfer to Greek Cyprus,” he said.

“We have other [water] projects. We do not want the Middle East, Gaza to stay without water,” he said.

The idea of extending water pipelines to the water-poor Middle East was first floated in 1986 by then-Prime Minister Turgut Özal. Pre-feasibility studies envisaged water transportation from Turkey’s southern Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers to Arab countries. The idea was to build two water pipelines on land through Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, even reaching the Gulf countries of Bahrain and Qatar.

In another push to realize the Peace Water project, facilities were built in the southern province of Antalya in 1998 to sell water from the Manavgat River to Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. The project, however, was not activated due to a lack of demand.