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Water Supply Cut Off to Tbilisi and Mtskheta Residents Due to Damage to Main Pipeline

Water supply to more than 100,000 of residents of Tbilisi and Mtskheta was cut off on June 16, amid unusually scorching heat for June, due to the accidental damage to the main water pipeline near Tsitsamuri village, Saguramo settlement, the main part of the Tbilisi water supply system through which drinking water is transported to Tbilisi and the city of Mtskheta. Due to the disruption, as of June 18, the residents of Tbilisi are receiving water according to a schedule announced by the Georgian Water and Power’s, with about 63,351 residents receiving water for only 2-4 hours a day in 35 degree Celsius weather.

“One of the most important central water pipelines of the Tbilisi water supply system, located near the village of Tsitsamuri, through which drinking water is transported to Tbilisi and the city of Mtskheta, was damaged to to accident,” said GWP press release.

According to the company, the damage was caused by a third party who, without GWP’s knowledge, over time filled the area with bulk material, creating a large geologically unstable land slope. “The artificially compacted land mass is spread over a large area, is prone to landslides, and begins to collapse during any manipulation. As a result, it becomes difficult to work with both manpower and equipment,” – notes GWP.

It remains unclear how such extensive damage over the years went unnoticed by city officials.

Moreover, according to GWP, the pressure of a large amount of material dumped by a third party caused several sections of GWP’s central water line to deform and separate the joints. GWP notes that due to the extent of the damage, it is necessary to create an alternative pipeline. The engineering work will include removal of the artificial ground cover, terracing of the landslide slope and local repair of the damaged network.

Criticism of Tbilisi City Hall

The main opposition party, United National Movement MP Lile Liparteliani shared on social media documents on the Tbilisi City Hall’s decisions to sell off Tbilisi’s water reservoirs over the past two years, which she said is the reason why the water supply had to be cut off instead of providing people with alternative sources.

According to Liparteliani, in 2008 Ltd. Georgian Global Utilities acquired Ltd. Rustavi Water Company, Ltd. Georgian Water Company, Ltd. Mtskheta Water Company and Tbilisi Water Ltd. with the obligation to invest USD 220 million to ensure 24-hour uninterrupted water supply to Tbilisi (including nearby villages) and Mtskheta, elimination of sewage discharge into Mtkvari within the administrative boundaries of Tbilisi, renovation and modernization of the Gardabani sewage system, etc.

In 2019, Ltd. Georgian Global Utilities obligations were considered to be fulfilled, despite some of the obligations not being fulfilled even today, and a four-party agreement on ending the 2008 contract was signed between former Minister of Economy Girgi Kobulia, National Agency of State Property Director Giorgi Dugladze, Mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze and one of the directors of Georgian Global Utilities, Avtandil Namicheishvili.

After the contact was terminated, GWP’s property was sold, including:

  • Pumping station, reservoir on Barnovi, Tbilisi – 2229 square meters, sold in 2019 and construction permit issued;
  • Reservoir in Lotkini area, Tbilisi – 15,856 square meters were sold in 2020;
  • Reservoir in Tskneti – 1770 square meters, sold in 2021;
  • Another reservoir in Tskneti – 3185 square meters, sold in 2021;
  • Reservoir on Krtsanisi Street, Tbilisi – 4108 square meters, sold in 2021;
  • Reservoir in Okrokana, Tbilisi, adjacent to government cottages – 448 square meters, sold in 2020;
  • Reservoir on Tashkent Street, Tbilisi – 3683 square meters, sold in 2020.

“With the termination of the contract, the state and local self-government lost the leverage of control, and the result is obvious: Tbilisi and Mtskheta have not been supplied with water for two days, but no one is held responsible,” – concludes Liparteliani.

Tbilisi Mayor’s Meeting with GWP

Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze met with the General Director of the Georgian Water and Power (GWP) company Jose Miguel Santos Gonzalez and Asset Management Director Giga Nadiradze.

“It is important to quickly restore the water supply in the capital, and until then, the population should have more information about the water supply schedule. The municipality is ready to help GWP, be it with equipment or anything else, so that the water supply to the people of Tbilisi can be restored as soon as possible,” Kakha Kaladze to the GWP representatives, according to the Tbilisi City Hall’s press release.

During the meeting, GWP representatives informed the Mayor about their 24-hour shift to repair the damage. They pointed out that the residents of the affected areas will have access to water through special vehicles with tanks of clean water and a schedule that will be imposed on the people for a maximum of one week, which is enough to complete the work.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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