The Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, during his visit to the Imereti Region, stated: "For many years, both in Kutaisi and in the entire Imereti Region, the problem of water supply has been unresolved. We have started intensive work to solve this problem. This is a very important project and upon its completion, the whole of Kutaisi will have a 24-hour water supply. This is a USD 87 million project."FactCheck
took interest in the statement and verified its accuracy.
Giorgi Tevdoradze, a member of the Parliamentary Minority, commented upon the Prime Minister’s statement who indicated that the rehabilitation work for Kutaisi’s water supply system has been protracted but it should have been finished by 2013. He said: "I address the Prime Minister, Mr Gharibashvili, personally. A couple of days ago, he made a statement that Kutaisi should have a 24-hour water supply. Please remember how many times I said that the water supply system rehabilitation work in Kutaisi has been stopped. That which you promised to be finished by 2015 should have been done by the end of 2013. By the way, 20% of Kutaisi’s population has had a 24-hour water supply from 2011. This was accomplished under the previous government."In his interview with FactCheck, Giorgi Tevdoradze underlined that the water supply system rehabilitation work in Kutaisi has been undertaken in several phases. The respective tender was announced in 2009 and the second phase (the first phase included preparatory work, the purchase of necessary equipment and work planning) of the work started. The second phase envisaged the installation of water pipes for Kutaisi’s central streets. Additionally, water supply construction was supposed to be fixed and, as claimed by the MP, six water source facilities were indeed repaired. Mr Tevdoradze asserts that it became possible to secure a 24-hour water supply for one part of Kutaisi (the so-called automobile plant settlement) which constitutes 20% of Kutaisi’s total population only after these two phases of the water supply system rehabilitation work. It must be noted that this settlement does indeed have a 24-hour water supply with local residents having confirmed this fact in their interviews with FactCheck.
The multi-phased Kutaisi water supply system rehabilitation project was scheduled to be completed in 2013 which was to have given the city a 24-hour water supply at that time. This has been confirmed by the then Head of the Kutaisi Municipal Improvement Service, Levan Chanchaleishvili. According to Mr Chanchaleishvili, if the rehabilitation work were not stopped in 2012, Kutaisi’s population would not have had any water supply problems in 2013.
The respective tender, which envisaged different sorts of work to rehabilitate Kutaisi’s water supply system, was announced in August 2012. This was the USD 26 million phase of the project which envisaged the replacement of amortized water pipes in the central part of Kutaisi and in the Sapichkhia and Ukimerioni districts. The aforementioned tender was won by the Cobra company. However, after the Parliamentary elections and under the new government, the work was stopped and a new tender was announced after a few months. The same Cobra company won the tender a second time and is now undertaking the respective rehabilitation work.
The official reasons given for stopping the rehabilitation work in 2012 are the following: some changes were introduced in the project which meant that the construction dynamic was altered and several streets which were supposed to have their water system repaired were replaced by some other streets. Because of the numerous changes in mayors and heads of Municipal Improvement Services in Kutaisi from 2012, Kutaisi City Hall was unable to give a more detailed answer to explain why the rehabilitation work was stopped.
According to the information of the United Water Supply Company of Georgia, the rehabilitation work which was stopped in 2012 and resumed later under the new government is scheduled to be completed in 2016.
As stated by the head of the Kutaisi Service Centre of the United Water Supply Company of Georgia, Merab Bobokhidze, at the present moment a total of 27 streets in Kutaisi have undergone rehabilitation work. The installation of large water reservoirs is scheduled in several districts of the city.
Currently, the settlements having a 24-hour water supply include: the automobile plant settlement territorial unit, St Luca Street, Ir. Abashidze Street (numbers 13-31 only), Aghmashenebeli Street, Chavchavadze Street and Gamsakhurdia Street. Additionally, residents of the private settlement of the last sector of the Avanguard and Nikea territorial units also have a 24-hour water supply.
Conclusion As stated by the Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, water supply problems have been practically unresolved in Kutaisi and intensive work for solving this problem has started under his team with the goal of providing the city with a 24-hour water supply upon completion. FactCheck
’s research has illustrated that rehabilitation work in Kutaisi started several years ago and brought certain results. However, the city’s full water supply has not been achieved and only one specific settlement was covered. The fact that Kutaisi’s water system rehabilitation work is being conducted under the new government is indeed true but the rehabilitation work started in 2009. According to the initial plan, this work should have been finished by 2013 but it was stopped in 2012 and a new tender was announced. These processes postponed Kutaisi’s 24-hour water supply until 2016.FactCheck concludes that Irakli Gharibashvili’s statement is HALF TRUE.