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The Head of the Marneuli Municipality, Merab Topchishvili, on air on radio Marneuli,

talked about infrastructural projects related to the supply of drinking water and stated that the population of Marneuli consumes high-quality drinking water which has been confirmed by laboratory analysis. Mr Topchishvili stated: "I can assure the population that the water quality in the Marneuli Municipality is absolutely suitable."

FactCheck

verified the accuracy of the statement.

According to the information of the Marneuli Municipality Public Relations Service, three water companies supply Marneuli with drinking water – United Water Supply Company of Georgia LTD, Marneulis Soplis Tskali LTD (Marneuli Village Water) and Rustavis Tskali LTD (Rustavi Water). Of these, only one, Marneulis Soplis Tskali, is subsidised by Marneuli’s local self-government body. The state owns 100% of the shares of the United Water Supply Company of Georgia. Rustavis Tskali is a private company which belongs to one and the same investment group

together with Georgian Water and Power and Mtskhetis Tskali (Mtskheta Water).

Marneulis Soplis Tskali supplies water to 23 villages of the Marneuli Municipality, Rustavis Tskali supplies water to 18 villages and the United Water Supply Company of Georgia supplies water to Marneuli proper together with three adjacent villages.

FactCheck

contacted the representatives of each of the aforementioned companies in regard to the quality of drinking water. The Director of Marneulis Soplis Tskali, Badri Kveladze, presented laboratory analysis results dated 29 June 2016 and stated that their consumers are supplied with high-quality drinking water as shown by the results according to the Drinking Water Technical Regulation. The other two companies responded with similar statements.

Considering the fact that the Marneuli population has been voicing concerns for a long time in regard to the quality of the drinking water and different news agencies have been reporting about alleged drinking water pollution, FactCheck

decided to carry out an independent study and submit water samples for laboratory analysis.

On 4 July 2016, FactCheck

contacted the website momkhmarebeli.ge and asked for assistance in selecting a laboratory and an analysis. The village of Tazakendi in the Marneuli Municipality was selected as the location for the experiment.

Momkhmarebeli.ge submitted a drinking water analysis to the G. Natadze Sanitation and Hygiene Scientific-Research Institute’s laboratory. We took a sample on 5 July 2016 in Tazakendi from the home of Saghavat Mekhtiev. The sample was taken the day before the analysis because villagers were not certain that there would be a water supply on the day designated for the testing. The samples were collected in a clean vessel and a bottle (see photos).

According to the laboratory testing, a chemical-macro biological analysis showed that the water sample contains microbe pollution. The results also indicate that due to the high level of mineralisation and hardness of the tested water, its consumption for drinking or agricultural purposes might cause certain problems; namely, it creates a high risk for the development of cardiovascular and kidney diseases. Additionally, soap for washing and personal hygiene is less effective under conditions of hard water. The final conclusion of the laboratory results indicates that the microbiological indicators in the water do not correspond to the Drinking Water Technical Regulation with consumption for drinking or agricultural purposes recommended only after the water’s disinfection and purification.

Conclusion       

Three companies supply Marneuli with drinking water. According to the information of the Marneuli Municipality, the village of Tazakendi belongs to the area supplied by Rustavis Tskali. As stated by the company’s representatives, Marneuli’s villages are supplied with water via closed water pipes, the results of laboratory testing show that the water is of an excellent quality and that chlorination is carried out on a permanent basis. Additionally, the company stated that its water does not have any odours or silt.

However, the results of the laboratory analysis conducted by FactCheck (with the assistance of momkhmarebeli.ge and a laboratory) show a different picture; namely, we can conclude that the drinking water in the village of Tazakendi (one sample family) is polluted and its consumption is risky. Additionally, FactCheck

interviewed the village population. Some of the locals said that they do not consume tap water and usually purchase bottled water.

Therefore, the statement of the Head of the Marneuli Municipality, Merab Topchishvili, is FALSE.

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