The Prime Ministry has given the go-ahead for two large water projects for Istanbul valued at a total of $1,670 million. This means the Greater Melen and Yesilcay schemes have escaped the review of investment expenditure carried out by the treasury as part of the 5 April austerity package, say officials (MEED 15:4:94).

The State Hydraulics Agency now hopes to start tender procedure for consultancies for the two projects before the end of June. Invitations will be advertised for the Greater Melen river project, and directly from a shortlist of about seven consultants for the Yesilcay scheme.

Externally financed projects have taken priority in the review, and Istanbul urgently requires additional water supplies. Japan’s Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund (OECF) signed the first $495 million tranche in November out of a total $1,050 million it has agreed towards the overall $1,400 million cost of the Greater Melen project. The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development has agreed to finance 60 per cent of the Yesilcay scheme’s total $270 million cost.

The main features of the Greater Melen project are the construction of a dam and water regulator near the mouth of the river on the Black Sea to the east of Istanbul, together with a 174-kilometre pipeline to the city. Other components include pumping stations along the pipeline, and reservoirs and a water treatment plant with a daily capacity of about 700,000 cubic metres in the city itself.

The Yesilcay project involves building two regulators on separate rivers, a 60-kilometre transmission pipeline, and a water treatment plant with a daily capacity of 500,000 cubic metres.

Approval is also expected soon from the Prime Ministry for a contract to provide construction supervision services for the Manavgat water export scheme on the southern Mediterranean coast.