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Kosovo: Clean water for Gjilan/Gnjilane

27-01-2003 News Release 03/13

The ICRC last week handed over its last water-supply project in the Balkans to the local water board.

The project was to repair a 6.8-km pipeline running from the Prelepnice reservoir to the city of Gjilan/Gnjilane. The reservoir, which can hold 1,000 cubic metres of water, was built by the ICRC in 2001. In the latest work – which brought the total cost, including the reservoir, to 450,000 Swiss francs – air valves were replaced and purge drains installed at key locations along the pipeline. The ICRC has thus improved both the quality and quantity of the water supply and almost 90,000 residents now have clean water at a reasonable pressure. Initial indications are that there has been a significant increase in pressure, even at points furthest along the pipeline. This benefits the ethnic Albanian community as well as the Serb and other minorities.

An assessment carried out by the ICRC in 1999 showed that lack of maintenance and equipment had seriously affected the pipeline's ability to deliver good-quality water. The ICRC is pleased to have been able to provide people in Gjilan/Gnjilane with an adequate water supply, a network that will benefit all ethnic communities and facilitate their future life together.

 Further information:  
Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel.: + 41 22 730 24 58