From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Municipality of Tirana Claims No Water Shortages Despite Widespread Complaints

Tirana’s water supply company UKT has claimed that there is no such thing as water shortages in Tirana this summer, insisting it is only occurring in two locations, namely Yzberisht and Astir.

The request for information was sent by the Citizens Channel, after many inhabitants of the city reported having very little, or no water at all. Just last week, Exit reported how many locations reported only getting water for around 5 hours a day during specific slots, whilst some have not had any water for weeks.

These incidences were observed in Blloku, Myslym Shyri, Dajt, Ali Demi, Komuna e Parisit, Misto Mame, Vasil Shanto, Selite, and Selvia, contradicting the water company’s claim that it is only impacting two areas.

“There is really no talk of water shortages, but of partial restrictions on localized facilities that are positioned in networks supplied through pumping stations, more precisely some mansions in Yzberish and Astir” they told the Citizens Channel.

UKT also claimed that those buildings that have issues with water supply had been identified and that they were in “constant contact” with inhabitants to find a solution. They added this was being done to ensure that “residents feel the effects of the supply problem on their building as little as possible.”

Apart from the fact that the problem is much more widespread than UKT will admit to, none of those impacted by the shortages have been contacted, much less helped by the company. Instead, the problem persists with some households relying on bottled water, and others not having any supply for 20 hours out of 24.

One apartment administrator in Astir reported that UKT are not sending enough water to satisfy the needs of the inhabitants.

“The summer is a very difficult time. The water arrives in the afternoon around 4pm- a volume of between 6000 and 12000 litres. They tell us it will be fixed,” he said.

As a result, thousands of citizens are spending their lives trying to fit around the schedule of when they will have water. Simple tasks such as showering, washing clothes, cooking, or cleaning the house have to be timed to the few hours there is running water, else they have to pay to bring in bottled water from outside.

As of 1 January 2018, the price of water in Tirana increased by 40%for businesses and households. This increase, according to the Tirana Municipality, is due to the investments they are making in the water network.

This increase was made despite the fact that the EBRD loaned them a significant amount of money to make the improvements. 18 months later and the situation on the ground is no better for the citizens of Tirana.

UKT said: “Two of the investments, which are major works in fact, are being carried out for the first time by the UKT, are; expansion of the water treatment plant “Bovilla” with 30% more capacity and the construction of a supply line from Bovilla plant to the Yzberisht landfill, investments that will eventually solve the problem of areas such as Yzberisht, Astiri, Kombinat, Kodër Kamza or Kashar. ”

A post from January 2019 on UKT’s social media page announced the launch of a new era of water supply in the summer months, yet this promise, a bit like the water, has not materialised.