Donations of over 2,5 million euros did not bring clean drinking water to Bosilovo residents
Officials complain the drinking water is only bacteria free instead of being treated chemically
Eight thousand residents from Strumica region do not have clean drinking water for ten years, although the foreign donors have provided funds for this purpose in two occasions. The officials say the investment of over 2,5 million euros provided through GTZ’s project on supplying drinking water ten years ago was unsuccessful. So, instead of providing clean drinking water by treating it chemically, it is only treated bacteriologically. They say the chemical substances remain in the drinking water and this is why Bosilovo residents asked for help from the foreign donors. They located the problem in the implementation and have unsuccessfully tried to resolve the problem through USAID. They hope that the third attempt will bring solution to the problem, as they finally expect to get crystal clean tap water with the CARDS project.
Hydro system “Ilovica” was built for water supply of seven settlements in Bosilovo municipality and irrigation of 90 hectares of arable land in Ilovica and Stuka. It is comprised of dam Ilovica, filter station with pump and pressurized pipeline for Ilovica and Stuka, two main trunks from the reservoir to Turnovo, Radovo, Bosilovo, Sekirnik and Borievo, as well as small irrigation system. Ilovica system was financed by the German government through GTZ program, but the Macedonian government also provided its own funds. The project amounted to 5,1 million Deutsch mark or 2,5 million euros, out of which 4,396 million Deutsch mark or 2 million euros are from the German grant, while the rest is provided from the budget.
The officials realized the problem after the water started to run through the pipes, which began to leak due to the huge pressure. “After the construction of filter station, accumulation and main trunks by the German Dobershek Engineering, we realized that the existing technology in the filter station did not give the expected results. Later on, it was established that the filters did not function, resulting in low quality of the water and defects in pressure regulation in the main trunk,” says Borce Minov, director of the public utility company “Ograzden”. The municipality has hired Skopje’s company “Fluid proekt” to locate the defect. “We found out that there is a defect in the filters, bringing to leakage of quartz sand and anthracite, which were supposed to clean the water in the pipeline, thus disturbing the pressure. This is why we applied for USAID project and by the end of 2004 and beginning of 2005 the fine filters were repaired. Since then the filters give satisfactory results and the pressure is normalized,” says Minov. He concludes that besides the two donations and the technical functioning in five settlements, the system did not provide chemically clean water.
“The water is hundred percent bacteria free, but in some periods of the year, the level of chemicals, such as manganese, sulfates and organic substances increase,” Minov explains.
Bosilovo residents now hope that they will get clean drinking water through the ongoing CARDS program, which should be finalized in October and includes construction of a system for water pre-treatment, which will also provide chemical treatment. It will cost 229,751 euros.
However, not all residents from this region connected to the water supply network. Off course, there are people who have finances to pay for the connection. Gjorgji Ivanov from Turnovo village is one of them. “We are very satisfied with the new network. Previously we had pressure pump, but one year ago we have connected to the new waterworks. We use the water for everything, even for drinking,” he says. Ivanov says they regularly receive reports that the water is potable, but out of precaution we do not give it to the children.
It is not clear who is responsible for the malfunctioning of the project realized by GTZ in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Supply. The competent officials can neither confirm nor deny the information that the water supply system in Bosilovo municipality built with a German donation is not working. The information from GTZ headquarters says that the dam in Bosilovo was constructed together with two other dams in Mantovo and Turija within the project on rehabilitation and construction of dams realized from 1997 to 2001. However, they do not have information that this was failed investment. On contrary, they say the project was aimed at helping the residents from this region.
The water supply administration within the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Supply, which implemented the project, says, “The project was fully implemented including the technical and financial control from the financier GTZ and they were present in the Ministry during the implementation. The facilities were handed over to the local government and now it is their responsibility to take care of them.”
The Ministry of Local self-Government says these projects were managed through other ministries. The European Agency for Reconstruction, which manages the EU-funded projects, is not aware of Bosilovo problem. They only know of the ongoing project.