From: Alice Taylor
Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj Promises 24/7 Running Water…Again

Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj has promised that the capital will have running water 24 hours a day in 100% of the city, once the second phase of works in Bovilla are completed.

He made the pledge during a visit to the plant today.

“The good news for citizens is that we are starting the last big investment… [and] 100% of Tirana will have a 24-hour supply [of water].”

He added that water filtration will be doubled, as will the quality of the output. Veliaj also claimed that water pressure will improve.

The Director of Tirana Water and Sewerage Elton Kacidhja said the project should be finished in one year, but that “if it goes faster, the work will be completed faster.”

This is not the first time that such a promise has been made.

In 2013, Prime Minister Edi Rama blamed the then PD-led government for not providing around-the-clock water and said he would fix the problem if elected. He said it was a “great shame to appear before your people” and not to have fixed the drinking water problem.

In 2015, Veliaj signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Puglia Regional President Michele Emiliano to improve Tirana’s water supply.

In August 2016, Veliaj said UKT would be privatized, but it’s not known if any progress was made.

In 2017, the Municipality increased the cost of water and justified it by saying it was funding a 24-hour supply. At the time, Veliaj claimed the city has water for 14 hours a day.

In September 2019, Veliaj promised the residents of Astir that they would receive running water around the clock in the future.

In November 2019, the government proposed a law to provide concessions to the water supply service.

In February 2020, the Water Regulatory Authority found that Albanian citizens only had access to water on average 13.2 hours a day. It also found that many water utility sites were operating without a license due to failing to meet hygiene standards.

In May 2020, Veliaj announced work on the water filtration plant in Paskuqan that he said would bring 24/7 water to the city.

In August 2020, Veliaj promised that the residents of Astir would receive around the clock, running water imminently.

In October 2020, Exit reported on how hundreds of thousands of students were set to return to school during a pandemic with no running water.

In November 2020, Rama promised that every city and urban area in the country would have running water 24 hours a day. Projects to achieve this would be completed in 2021, he said.

In January 2021, eight years after his first promise, Rama said that if he was reelected, Albanians would have non-stop running water within one year from the start of his third mandate.

In January 2021, Veliaj said that UKT has improved and work is underway to create a vision for the improvement of Tirana’s water supply.

In May 2021, a Tirana Court ruled that water in Trana was unfit to drink during 2016 and 2017. They also found that the Municipality and UKT used unaccredited laboratories to run tests that usually concluded water was good quality.

A quick survey on social media saw many people comment that they do not have access to water 24/7. Residents of Linze have water for only two hours a day, those near the Faculty of Law four hours a day. In Kashar too, water is available only two hours a day, and the supply is intermittent in the neighborhoods of Selite, Asim Vokshi, Myslym Shyri, and Xhamlliku. In Rruga Ali Visha and parts of Ali Demi, water was only available in the morning and evening.

While much of the city has been without regular water throughout the summer, Veliaj has set up several “cooling stations” near his office and the main boulevard. These stations spray a water mist onto people as they pass through them, and some have been adorned with plants.