Repairs to the water pipeline carrying freshwater from Turkey to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is set to be completed by 25 September.
The pipeline was damaged at the start of the year due to severe weather conditions. Experts identified a leak about 5 miles (8 km) from the Turkish coast, and found two pipes had become detached from their underwater bases.
The repair work required new high-density polyethylene pipes and their supports to replace damaged ones. These are being laid with the use of robots hundreds of metres below sea level.
On Thursday, 10 Sept., the TRNC Prime Minister Ersin Tatar and Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay inspected progress from the Skandi Seven ship, one of the vessels involved in the pipeline repair work, which started earlier this summer.
The completion date was confirmed by Mr Oktay, who said: “Water will begin to flow again from Turkey to TRNC on 25 September.”
The Vice-President reaffirmed the bonds between Turkey and North Cyprus, while touching on the Eastern Mediterranean crisis that has seen Greece and Greek Cypriots, and their political allies try to “imprison Turkey to its mainland.”
Mr Oktay said Turkey “will never permit even a millimetre of its rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean to be eyed maliciously.”
Prime Minister Tatar thanked Turkey for its support on the vital support line: “Thank you once again to Turkey. I appreciate the close attention and dedication shown in completing such a large project.”
About the pioneering Turkey-TRNC water pipeline
Inaugurated by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2015, the 66 mile (107 kilometre) long pipeline is an incredible, first-of-its-kind feat of engineering.
Never before has water been carried for such a distance using a suspended underwater pipeline. The technique, while pioneering, also gave engineers unique transport challenges, as water travels differently to gas and oil.
Offshore pipelines carrying gas and oil are made of steel, and they usually rest on the sea bed at depths of up to 3,000 meters. The process is aided by the pressure and weight of the pipe, as well as the density of the oil and gas.
Fresh water is less dense than sea water and has a tendency to float. So instead of placing the pipes some 1,400 metres below sea level, engineers on the project called Barış Suyu(‘peace water’) decided to create a floating structure for the 80km distance the pipes travel underwater.
When fully operational, the pipeline will deliver 75 million cubic meters of water annually to the TRNC, meeting all of the water needs of Turkish Cypriots. Approximately half of the water will be used for irrigation, the rest as drinking water.