Select Committee on Trade and Industry Twelfth Report



53. The Secretary of State's second condition referred to the need to "make provision for upstream water treatment plants capable of ensuring that water quality is maintained". We concluded in February 2000 that "there is no reason to doubt that it can and will be fulfilled", although the implementation " must be closely monitored".[19] The Government agreed that "we need to be confident that it will be addressed" and that "we shall of course be looking to see that the plants will be built".[20]

Treatment plants

54. We raised the question of the construction of water treatment plants at our meetings with the Mayors of Diyarbakir and Batman, and received from the authorities an updated list of the state of engineering and construction of the relevant systems. There is some doubt remaining as to the exact status of the various projects, which relate not only to the principal cities but also to a number of municipalities. There seems to be no shortage of sewerage and wastewater treatment projects for which the engineering design stage has been completed, but some shortage of the funds to bring them to fruition. The larger ones may require outside financing. Others are dependent on financing from the public Bank of Provinces. The list suggests, for example, that the water treatment plant for Batman has been in the Bank's annual investment programme since 1973. We inquired in writing about the Diyarbakir waste water treatment plant and have been told that it is indeed under construction and will serve around 70% of the city's population. It offers "mechanical (preliminary) treatment".

55. We can reasonably expect the revised EIAR to address these matters in some detail. We still have no reason to doubt that the Turkish authorities have the ability to ensure that water quality is maintained at a sufficiently high level to ensure that there is not eutrophication— the excessive growth of nutrients leading to depleted oxygen content. But we are disappointed to have learned that the necessary wastewater and sewage treatment projects seem to be low in the pecking order of priorities for public financing. If export credit is required, we would be happy to see UK funds and companies committed to construction and maintenance of water and sewage systems of general benefit to the populace. We also look to the revised EIAR to clarify the extent of water and sewage treatment proposed, since the nature and intensity of the treatment is crucial for the impact on water quality.


56. It was not apparent to us until our visit and our briefings in situ how far advanced the Turkish authorities already were in using the Tigris for hydro-electric power. There are several relatively small dams either constructed or planned on the upper reaches of the Tigris — the Kralkizi Dam with 94 MW installed capacity and the Dicle Dam with 110 MW, both on the river above Diyarbakir: the Batman dam north of Batman of 198 MW capacity, already built: the Silvan and Kayser dams planned further up-river with a joint capacity of 240 MW: the Garzan dam on the Garzan river in planning with a capacity of 90 MW: and the Cizre dam referred to below with a capacity of 240 MW. That gives a total capacity planned or in operation of around 970 MW, not far short of the 1200 MW planned at Ilisu. There may well in due course be possibilities of hydro-electric projects on the river above Siirt. Ilisu represents only about half of the currently assessed hydro-electric potential of the Tigris basin in Turkey.


57. We were also unaware of the extent of existing and planned irrigation schemes on the river. Overall the GAP authorities expect to irrigate over half a million hectares, drawing around 3.7 billion cubic metres of water a year, of which around 20% is returned. The DSI brief we received suggested that this would cause "almost no harm" to water quality. But it is clear that abstraction on that scale of water for irrigation — an admirable economic end in itself and a key to the region's economic growth — cannot but have some effect on the quality of the water returned and on gross water flows downstream to the proposed Ilisu reservoir. Not having had a sight of the full 1998 EIAR Report, we can only comment that the effects of irrigation upstream do not seem to have been addressed in the DTI Environmental Impact review carried out by ERM, although there was a passing reference to the question of sedimentation of the reservoir. We expect the revised EIAR to address the issues of the quality of returned waters from irrigation schemes and the effects of upstream irrigation schemes on water flow; if it does not, Ministers should insist that they be addressed.

19  HC 200, para 21 Back

20  HC 482, page v Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 11 May 2001