MOEW to start inspections on water utilization by all Water Supply and Sewerage Companies

30 Jan, 2020 | 15:49

The Basin Directorates will carry out inspections of all water supply and sewerage operators for compliance with the conditions within the water utilization permits. This decision was taken today at an extraordinary meeting of the Supreme Advisory Board on Water at the Ministry of Environment and Water under the chairmanship of the Minister of Environment and Water Emil Dimitrov and with the participation of Deputy Minister Krasimir Zhivkov. The participants included representatives of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, the Ministry of Energy, “Dams and Cascades” EAD, “Irrigation Systems” EAD, and “Sofia Water” AD.

 The experts from the Basin Directorates will make sure that the conditions in the permits related to the installation of measuring devices are fulfilled. This will show whether the actual water used by the operators is being measured and reported, as well as whether the rational utilization of the available natural resource is taken into consideration.

 “You know the problems in the water supply and sewerage sector - there have been attempts at misleading conclusions among the systems for years. In order to hide water supply network losses and pipeline failures, operators do not report the actual amount they extract from the dams. There are water supply and sewerage operators that work wonderfully and there are those who somehow do not manage to function,” said Minister Dimitrov during the meeting. According to the information provided by Deputy Minister Zhivkov, there are operators that report 95% of water supply network losses - as in Shumen, many other companies report 70-85% of losses in water supply.

 “Each month we look at a report, compare it with the one from the water supply and sewerage operators and the Basin Directorate and confirm their needs. But trusting those reports without any reservations, has led us to conflict situations. Therefore, we will change the system. I will meet with representatives of the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, “Dams and Cascades”, as well as all other stakeholders. We are at the beginning of the process of resolving the issues with water utilization, and we need to change the way we work first, and then demand it from others,” explained the Minister.

 “We will report every day, we will check the flows every day. The same inflow and utilization figure cannot be valid for an entire month. It is clear what is being done - they look at last year's database, they do not make any measurements, and send us the data they want. There is no measuring equipment, and then we are surprised. We will be sending the data to all institutions in an official manner to make it clear that we are not hiding anything and that we are as transparent as possible. And we will demand official information from them,” Dimitrov was categorical.

 Minister Dimitrov also announced that a special center will be established at MOEW, which will carry out daily monitoring, and if need be the schedules will be changed every 10 days. According to him there are several problematic dams – “if we tighten the regime there, we will have water for a whole year, if we do not do it, in 3 months we will be asking ourselves where the water went.” I will hold talks with the water supply and sewerage system, but we need to protect the public interest. It is important to provide water for the population, people are the priority,” said Minister Dimitrov.

 A total of 6 dams of the 52 monitored by the MOEW have a volume of below 50%. The Studena Dam is at 13.4% of the volume, Asenovets – at 28.3%, Dyakovo – at 35.5%, Yastrebino – at 31.1%, Kalin – at 33.7, Karagyol - at 32%. The Council decided that MOEW should continue to monitor the status of all 52 significant and complex dams. In case of a decrease in the volume of the 15 dams used for drinking water supply below 50%, measures should be undertaken to stop water extraction for the industry, for energy production, and other needs, as well as for limiting the extraction for drinking water and switching to alternative water sources.