By Kyriacos Kiliaris
Turkish Cypriots are complaining that they are paying a very high price for the water coming from Turkey, claiming they are coughing up double what it actually costs the councils.
According to Turkish Cypriot Newspaper Havadis, while water costs 2.30 TL upon arriving at the councils’ reservoirs, the price more than doubles by the time it reaches consumers in the north.
Turkish Cypriot consumers pay an average of 5 TL (€1.26) per tonne, with a household consuming 10 tonnes of water on a monthly basis, paying on average 43 TL.
They are also complaining of injustice in setting the price as each of the 28 councils in the north is fixing the price according to their own criteria. Prices range from 15 TL (€3.80) to 62 (€15.68) TL for ten tonnes of water.
Turkish Cypriots are lashing out at the coalition as, before the arrival of the water from Turkey, it had guaranteed that the resource would be sold at the same price islandwide.
The highest price is recorded in Nicosia, where a household with a 10-tonne consumption will pay 62 TL, while the cheapest price can be found in Louroujina, where the equivalent consumption costs 15 TL. The price in Nicosia is thus four times higher than in Louroujina.
Local authorities claim the price reflects the various costs that councils incur in transferring the water to consumers. The most expensive of councils when it comes to water prices, Nicosia, claims it has no choice but to apply a higher tag than the other councils.
The Cyprus Weekly contacted Murat Kanatli, a member of the Nicosia Turkish Municipality board and member of the Turkish Cypriot New Cyprus Party (YKP) and asked for his view on the matter.
Kanatli told the Weekly that the decision regarding the price of water had been reached after two council meetings.
He said that the high price was deemed mandatory at the gatherings, due to the costs the Nicosia Municipality incurs, which is much higher than others.
Kanatli said that: “due to leaks, caused by faulty pipelines, 35% of the water never reaches consumers”.
He also said that, apart from the leaking pipes, the Council struggles to be able to collect 85% of the bills, which means the Municipality is actually only collecting 55% of the money that it should have been collecting.
The YKP member said he had rejected the price scheme, as he believes consumers should not have to pay for the sins of previous councils and mayors, who did not take measures to fix problems in the water distribution system.
“We could have easily collected money from the consumers as a one-off, in order to fix the system and that would have been it,” concluded Kanatli.