Select Committee on Trade and Industry Appendices to the Report


Memorandum submitted by Thames Water



  Thames Water's expertise in delivering large scale infrastructure projects and experience in the water industry in Turkey have helped the company, in partnership with reputable Turkish and Japanese partners, to win the largest privately financed water project in the world. Being the first water Build Operate Transfer (BOT) project in Turkey, Izmit Industrial and Domestic Water Supply scheme also brings the local government, Izmit Greater Municipality into the picture as a committed partner of the local project company Izmit SU AS.

  The project comprises a dam, a water treatment plant and bulk water distribution system. Water is impounded from Kirazdere source to Yuvacik Dam, a 400 metres wide, 110 metres high earth-fill structure with a capacity of 60 million cubic metres of water and an estimated annual yield of over 142 million cubic metres. The raw water is delivered via steel ductile pipes with 2.2 metres diameter to the 5 kilometres downstream treatment plant with 480,000 cubic metres daily capacity. Water treated to the highest standards through various processes is carried towards the town via a steel trunk main for about 100 kilometres, branching out to service reservoirs for a further 42 kilometres. Treated water is distributed to the municipality's facilities by gravity, with the exception of two areas along the route with pumping stations to boost supplies.

  The project was completed on budget and three months ahead of schedule. The official opening ceremony in November 1998 was honoured by HE Su­leyman Demirel, the then President of Turkey, and commercial operation began in January 1999, to continue to serve more than 1 million inhabitants of Izmit for 15 years. During that period water management expertise, skills and technology of Thames Water will be transferred gradually to local people and at the end of it, the system will be handed back to the municipality. This is still the only water BOT scheme in Turkey, giving Thames a natural advantage over international competitors.


  Turkey is a large market with 63 million population and an annual industrial growth rate of approximately 6 per cent. The fact that the water infrastructure is relatively underdeveloped in Turkey and that the sector is multifaceted and decentralised, coupled with the prospect of EU membership, creates opportunities for investors. Turkey made an application to become an EU member in 1987, however, the possibility of future accession has been pronounced by Brussels only at the end of last year. This recent hope will mean that Turkey will have to adopt European laws and regulations in many areas including water and environmental standards earlier. Hence, Thames Water regards Turkey as pivotal in its regional strategy.

  Turkey is situated at an earthquake zone and the city of Izmit lies along the North Anatolian fault line which, when it broke on 17 August 1999, caused a major earthquake disaster, claiming the lives of tens of thousands of people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Thames Water and project partners had assessed natural risks and the possible resultant damage along with the political risks, at the outset of the contract. Necessary design, engineering and construction measures were taken to protect the structures against very strong tremors. The effect of the devastating earthquake that measured 7.4 on the Richter scale, was, as far as the project was concerned, a shut-down for only two hours for damage assessment, after which bulk water supply to the heavily affected region was restored.

  The earthquake and the days of crisis that followed proved to be a real test of operational capability for Thames Water. In addition to continuing with regular water supplies, the company set up temporary filling points for tankers and containers at the treatment plant, serving hundreds of vehicles to transport water across the province. Around the dam and treatment plant in Yuvacik, the local communities hit by the earthquake received free deliveries of water with containers from the plant.

  Within three days, a team of London based Thames Water technicians arrived in Izmit to assist the local administration with the work to repair burst mains and erect tents for housing families who had lost their homes. New water supply connections were made to these units for daily consumption. Municipalities and other local bodies were given advice on issues relating to public health following the disaster to avoid an outbreak of disease. Chlorine residual was increased, for example, to overcome any contamination at point of use. The company also assisted the Izmit Municipality in providing information about hygiene in local mass media.

  Thames Water co-operated with UK's Royal Air Force, the Department for International Development and the Customs Agency to fly in plane and truck loads of emergency goods and equipment to be delivered to the plant for distribution to local people. Thames also led-contributed a trust fund for the financing of building temporary housing units for its staff whose residences had been damaged by the earthquake.

  Thames Water has established itself as the strong British partner of a high profile project in an economically important part of Turkey. Programmes involving local community support, such as sponsoring English language courses, the local media, sports events, other social and cultural activities have been part of Thames Water Turkey's ongoing presence in Izmit.

  Thames Water is proud to enjoy HMG's support in its operations and project development endeavours in Turkey and would be honoured to host the members of the House of Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee in Izmit in November.

1 November 2000

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