Sunday April 20, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
11o C
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Most challenging work looms for longest undersea water pipeline

Pipes which form a subsea pipeline to supply fresh water from Turkey to the Turkish-Cypriot breakaway state sit during construction in Tasucu, Mersin, Turkey.

By Selcan Hacaoglu

Work has begun on the most complex phase of the world’s longest undersea water pipeline, a project to bring freshwater from Turkey beneath the Mediterranean to the occupied part of Cyprus that proponents say may help reunite the island.

The first kilometer of pipeline was laid this month on the $484 million project backed by Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to quench thirsts in the breakaway state. The centerpiece is an 80-kilometer (50-mile) pipeline to be suspended as much as 280 meters (919 feet) under water.

The project, its finish date already pushed back three months to June by technical challenges, is proceeding as reunification talks remain stalled on a divided island the World Resources Institute ranks as one of the 17 most water-stressed places on Earth while Turkey and Turkish Cypriots have bickered with Cyprus over offshore natural gas discoveries.

Water from Turkey’s pipeline to the mythological island birthplace of the goddess of love Aphrodite should be seen as “an opportunity for peace” in Cyprus, Forestry and Water Works Minister Veysel Eroglu said.

The pipeline, though, is “not the best solution both in economic -- too expensive -- and environmental terms,” said Cypriot government environment commissioner Ioanna Panayiotou. “Water is sensitive and might get polluted during the transfer.”

Mend fences?

Cyprus has been split between the south, a European Union member, and Turkish-held north since Turkey invaded 39 years ago to quash a coup aimed at uniting it with Greece. Greek Cypriots make up three-quarters of the 1.1 million residents on the semi- arid island, the Mediterranean’s third-largest.

Should both sides find a way to mend fences over water and gas, “it may create enough momentum to really start talking again in earnest,” said Manfred Lange, director of Cyprus Institute’s Energy, Environment and Water Research Center in Nicosia.

Turkey also plans to extend a subsea power transmission line to the breakaway state, which received 800 million liras ($388 million) of Turkish grants and loans last year.

The source of the water in Turkey, the Dragon River, has an annual capacity of 700 million cubic meters (185 million gallons), about 1/10th or 75 million cubic meters of which is to be piped to the island on completion.

Assessing risks

That’s timely as almost all water in Cyprus and the breakaway state streams “is being withdrawn every year to meet the demand of farms, businesses and households,” said Paul Reig, an associate for the Washington-based research group WRI.

That poses “risks to economic development, the environment and national security,” Reig said by e-mail. Without alternatives such as water from neighboring regions, desalination and “more efficient use of water for municipal, industrial and agriculture needs, Cyprus and northern Cyprus are vulnerable to even the slightest decrease in supply or increase in demand for freshwater.”

Greek Cypriots meanwhile are pinning hopes on a natural gas field found off the south shore in 2011 by Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. It contains an estimated 3.6 trillion to 6 trillion cubic feet whose proceeds may offset EU sanctions and financial- service industry losses. Total SA of Paris and Eni SpA of Italy are also exploring the area for gas.

Bring peace?

“We want to exploit the use of natural gas and transfer of water and electricity from Turkey to bring peace and prosperity to the island of Cyprus and foster cooperation and friendship between Turkey and Greece,” Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said, according to the Anatolia state news agency.

While Turkish Cypriots are relying on Turkey for fresh water, the Greek Cypriot south is building three desalination plants to add to its existing two.

Cyprus is relatively dry, rationing water on occasion with an average annual rainfall of 19.7 inches -- what much of Colombia receives each month.

The pipeline is designed to encourage farmers to diversify crops, curb overuse of aquifers and supply water around the clock, something none of the 28 municipalities in the breakaway state currently do.

The 107-kilometer pipeline including onshore sections will link Alakopru Dam near Anamur on Turkey’s coast to a dam being built in Gecitkoy, in the northern part of the island. More than 90 percent of the dam work is finished.

Spans of 500 meters will be moored to the seabed up to 1,400 meters deep, close to a mile underwater, with a buoy, tether and anchor system, designs show.

‘Doesn’t exist’

The pipeline “will be the first of its kind,” Akif Ozkaldi, head of Turkey’s General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works, said in an interview. “Such a suspended subsea pipeline of this size doesn’t exist in the world.”

Among pipeline risk-scenarios assessed were dangers from sinking vessels, quakes and tsunamis, said Ayhan Taskin, head of DSI’s drinking-water department. First designed to be 130 meters under water, final designs lowered the pipeline “to avoid submarines.” [Bloomberg] , Friday December 20, 2013 (10:30)  
Eurobank share offering on April 25-29
PPC to issue corporate bond of 500 mln
Primary surplus continued by end-March
Eurobank eyes top Core Tier 1 level in Greece
Greek Christians mark rare Good Friday in north Cyprus
Hundreds of Greek Orthodox pilgrims, some coming home after 40 years of forced exile, commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus in a rare Good Friday service in northern Cyprus. Held in this med...
Greece offers to help find Turkish F-16 lost in 1996
Greece officially offered on Thursday to assist Turkey in its efforts to locate and salvage a Turkish Air Force fighter jet which crashed in the Aegean almost 20 years ago. Greek Defense Min...
Inside News
Greens lose badly as CSKA Moscow
Panathinaikos has a mountain to climb in order to reach the Final Four of the Euroleague after losing at CSKA Moscow on Friday for a second time in two days, only this time it was comprehens...
Former Red Bourousis wrecks Olympiakos´s hopes for a break
Olympiakos tried harder in Game 2 of the Euroleague play-offs in Spain, and Real Madrid was not as good on Thursday as in Game 1, but the Spaniards still emerged victorious on the night with...
Inside Sports
The placebo effect and the economy
Among the greatest mistakes made in the years of Greece’s hard landing is that citizens did not get the chance to sense that aside from austerity and pain the economic adjustment program als...
Ukraine is a crisis—but not a Cold War
Given Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the imposition of US and European sanctions, and the potential for more escalation in Ukraine, we are witnessing the most important geopolitical events s...
Inside Comment
1. Greek Christians mark rare Good Friday in north Cyprus
2. Eurobank share offering on April 25-29
3. Greens lose badly as CSKA Moscow
4. Former Red Bourousis wrecks Olympiakos´s hopes for a break
5. PPC to issue corporate bond of 500 mln
6. Greece offers to help find Turkish F-16 lost in 1996
more news
This Week
1. Greek Christians mark rare Good Friday in north Cyprus
2. Eurobank share offering on April 25-29
This Week
1. Greece's market return mirrors return of tourists
2. Parties start announcing candidates for European Parliament elections
3. Greece startup leaders say they can’t break jobless cycle alone
4. Samaras sees no need for third bailout
5. Ground-breaking Good Friday mass signals thaw in Cyprus
6. IMF's Thomsen says Greece not fully financed to 2016
   Find us ...
  ... on
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.