World Water Day 2016
Pristina, 22 March 2016 - Today, almost half of the world's workers - 1.5 billion people - work in water related sectors and nearly all jobs depend on water and those that ensure its safe delivery. Yet the millions of people who work in water are often not recognized or protected by basic labour rights. The theme in 2016 — water and jobs — is focusing on how enough quantity and quality of water can change workers' lives and livelihoods - and even transform societies and economies.
On the occasion of World Water Day 2016, we met with Arjeta Mjeku, Spokeswoman of the Pristina Water Company to find out more about the state of water supply in Kosovo.
Two years ago, two major water sources, the Batllava/Batlava and Badovc/Badovac lakes in the region of Pristina suffered a drought and were at minimal level. Today both lakes have reached the highest water accumulation quota and are continuing to discharge. At present water reductions are minimal and supply continues throughout the night. Spokeswoman of Pristina Water Company, Arjeta Mjeku, says that a new water processing plant will come into function in November this year supplying the half a million citizens of Pristina and 8 other municipalities around Pristina with drinking water 24 hours a day.
“We are at the third stage of investments. It is the most important phase for the Pristina Regional Water Company. Shkabaj water processing plant is where the first phase will be implemented and it will have the capacity to deliver 700 liters per second and in a second phase, 500 liters per second. Work is ongoing, and we are expecting to eliminate drinking water crises in November 2016 once and for all.” – explains Arjeta.
Despite the new water processing plant, water shortages will not disappear overnight because the old pipe infrastructure doesn’t have the capacity to cope
with the amount of drinking water needed. A donation of 11 million euros from the European Commission and a loan of 6 million euros from the German Development Bank KfV to the water company will allow for improvements in infrastructure, says Arjeta Mjeku.
“The water infrastructure is being replaced in many areas of the city, including municipalities of Fushe Kosova/Kosovo polje. The water processing plant of Badovc/Badovac is under rehabilitation. We have placed more than 20 thousand water meters to make sure that running water can be evenly distributed.”
Quality of the drinking water is a crucial factor and it is continuously checked by the water company in cooperation with the Kosovo Public Health Institute.
“If we face any kind of irregularity or contamination of lakes, we take samples, analyze them and if the water is not drinkable, we inform citizens in time and we stop water production until the water is clear, or we use chemicals to improve water quality.” – says Arjeta.
Ensuring access to water and sanitation for all is one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Water scarcity still affects more than 40 per cent of the global population and is projected to rise. 663 million people are still without access to improved drinking water sources. There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to provide clean and accessible water for all – economic development and improved infrastructure are key to achieving this life saving goal.