YKP: We haven’t said our last words on privatisation of water yet!

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ykplogo_yWe have reached a very critical point regarding the privatisation of water in the northern part of Cyprus…

YKP is against the privatisation of water and it has been since December 2010 when it was first declared that the water would be privatised.

The agreed upon text infiltrated the press and when it is examined we can see that it includes very heavy provisions.

The text states that “drinking and running water, waste water, rain water and the right to manage the agricultural irrigation facilities” will be transferred to compaines, a process similar to the privatisation of Ercan Airport.”

From now on, the decisions regarding agriculture cannot be made by the administration in the north. According to the agreement, “The lands that will be watered with the supplied water will be agreed upon by both sides of this agreement.”

Usage of local water resources is strictly limited and in some cases banned. Current underground water resources will also be transferred to private companies as the agreement states “This agreement is binding regarding the work and processes regarding the supplied water as well as the management of local water resources, financial and administrative liabilities, rights and responsibilities of the Signatories and the private companies”. Moreover, the agreement states that “Where there are drinking-running water networks, new permits/licenses cannot be granted for the usage of water.” With this statement, it is obvious that the local governments will be pushed to be part of the system. This imposition is also evident with regards to pricing. The agreement states that “All the municipalities who do not partake in the agreement will be provided with water by the Administration from local resources with the price determined by the build-operate-transfer tender” aiming at provoking the public against the administration through the quality of water and the controlled prices of water.

The possibility of transfer of the water management to the local governments, in case that the proposed system does not work, is already prevented by the agreement: “The private company is the franchise owner during its management tenure and during this period, neither another private company nor a public institution have transferred to them the right or the permit to manage the water” With this agreement, water is strictly managed as a commodity by a private company.

Obviously, the lessons are not learned from the problem of electricity; privatization of water comes with a guarantee of purchase. It is stated in the agreement that “If the Guarantee of Purchase is below the given amount, the difference is paid by the TRNC Finance Ministry to the Company in accordance with the price determined by the tender.” Like the case of AKSA, this process will bring heavy financial responsibilities.

On top of all these, expropriation of lands needed by the Company will take place and according to the agreement “No costs can be demanded from the Company regarding expropriation and allotments.”

The Company will also be provided electricity with discounts! KIB-TEK is being left out of this process and of course the difference between the normal pricing and reduced pricing will be taken from the public!

The agreement continues by stating “The Company cannot be made responsible of additional costs or taxation after the agreement is signed, however, taxes or financial liabilities of the Company can be subject to discounts with new regulations”. So if the new governments come up with new taxation rules, the Company will be immune to increases but will benefit from any possible decreases!

The agreement also highlights that the investments made in Cyprus by Turkey are not formulated as public services but as investments made to any other province of Turkey, and when there is a need one day, the conditions of usage of the said infrastructures will be regulated by the funders of the infrastructures, mainly the Republic of Turkey. Another proof to disprove the ones who still think that we have an independent state!

Besides, the agreement does not have an end date.

It will result in an ecological disaster as it sees water as a commodity.

It will also have detrimental effects on agriculture and husbandry in the country.

It includes serious implications regarding the autonomy and financial circumstances of local governments.

As was privatisation of Ercan airport, this agreement includes hidden clauses and it does not guarantee cheaper water or water with higher quality.

YKP urges the local governments not to join this system, groups engaged in agriculture and husbandry to put forward a serious reaction and ecology and environment organisations to struggle against this plan that will result in ecological disasters. YKP will support such struggles and actions.

Water is life, it cannot be sold.