In Cyprus, wastewater management has been at the core of bi-communal cooperation between the two communities of Nicosia since the 1960s.
Through the project for the new Nicosia Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), the Sewerage Board of Nicosia, the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have been promoting and facilitating access to wastewater services for both communities of Nicosia as a fundamental contribution to the ongoing peace and confidence-building process.
The new plant will serve a population of 270,000 people from both communities and will be able to treat an average of 30,000 m3/day. The project – worth approx. 25 million Euros - was jointly funded by the Sewerage Board of Nicosia (70%), and the European Union (30%) on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot Community.
In 1978, following delicate negotiations, the local representatives of the two communities, with encouragement and assistance from the UNDP and the World Bank, reached an agreement to complete the construction of a common sewerage system.
Since the beginning of its operation in 1980, the plant has been a perfect example of the bi-communal co-operation between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sewage engineers, with the provision of the best possible service to both communities of Nicosia as the objective.
In early 2003, the Plant started to face growing environmental problems. Due to a growing urban development in both sides of Nicosia, the existing WWTP began to increasingly experience capacity overload and could not meet European Union effluent quality requirements. This led to heavy environmental burdens for the neighbouring areas, and unpleasant odours had become a serious nuisance to Nicosia residents.
This challenge brought the two communities of Nicosia to consider the opportunities offered by wastewater and to start thinking of it as a resource. A new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment infrastructure was designed which has resulted in a very significant improvement of wastewater collection and treatment.
The project for the New Nicosia Waste Water Treatment Plant started in March 2010 and was completed in June 2013 and is today in full operations.
The new wastewater treatment plant serves the needs of both the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities and produces high-quality treated sewerage effluent (TSE) which can be used for irrigation. TSE complies with applicable standards for irrigation and any discharge of TSE will have a positive impact on the environment.
The UNDP provided assistance in implementing the project. It promoted and facilitated dialogue between the two communities, and oversaw the implementation of the project.
Beyond the scope of this project, new projects are in the planning stage with the European Commission to find an agreement between the two communities of Nicosia for the reuse of the treated water for irrigation purposes as well as for the reuse of the sludge produced as a natural fertilizer.
- 270,000 people from both communities will be served by the new plant;
- 30,000 m3 of wastewater are treated in the new plant every day on average;
- 10 million m3 of treated water per year could be reused for agricultural irrigation. Depending on the type of crop and the crop rotation strategy, approximately 500 hectares can be irrigated with the treated water reducing the over-extraction of groundwater in the area, thusenhancing water resources and water conservation;
- Over 3,000 tons of dry solids suitable for use as natural fertilizer will be produced every year. The sludge resulting from the treatment will be converted into dry sludge compost;
- The WWTP will have an anaerobic sludge digester and will be capable of producing electricity from biogas. The operation of the plant will therefore be partly powered by renewable energy (10% to 20% on average), reducing its CO2emissions.