USD5BN SOUGHT FOR WATER SUPPLY
The huge amount of USD5.365BN, which almost equals half of Bulgaria's foreign debt, is necessary for urgent change and rehabilitation of the national water supply network, Eng. Gancho Hirtov, Chairman of the National Committee for Imporvement of Water Supply in bulgaria, announced. If that money is not invested, the country would be endangered of serious shortages of both potable water and water for irrigation and industrial purposes.
The lack of an overall strategy for exchanging the existing infrastructure might necessitate a partial water rationing, or lead to an absolute lack of water in 60% of the settlements, Mr. Hitrov explained to journalists. According to him, the idling of former misiter of regional development and public works Evgeni Chachev has caused much of the present problems.
The new management of the Ministry has promised to work out an overall State strategy for water supply, following preliminary consultations with the public, to be organized by the year-end. After that, policies in this sector will be clearly outlined and implemented in constant coordination with branch organizations, managing water resources, and with designers' organizations with experience in this sphere.
The problem, however, does not concern strategies and policies only. The generally shared opinion is that losses of potable water, exceeding 50% of the quanities passed to consumers, is the major trouble of water supply in the country. Wholes, as it is said, should be filled in, but the data of the overall inspection of the local water supply network are shocking: 61,162 km of the water-mains need urgent exchange. These are mostly asbestos cement pipes, laid from the end of the 40's till mid 60's of the 20 century. In addition, some 1,501,000 pieces of water supply deviations need to be exchanged.
Unlike Gancho Hitrov, the new Deputy Premier and Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Kostadin Paskalev claims that some BGL3BN will be sufficient for changing the depreciated water-mains. However, new dams should be constructed as well.