Ilham Aliyev attends the opening of the Oguz-Qabala-Baku water pipeline

28 december 2010, 12:35

Ilham Aliyev attended a ceremony to inaugurate the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline

A ceremony has been held to commission to the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline, one of Azerbaijan’s biggest infrastructure projects.

The ceremony was attended by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

The ceremony participants warmly welcomed the head of state who arrived at the Absheron complex of the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline facilities.

The chairman of the “AzerSu” Joint-Stock Company, Nizamaddin Rzayev, said that the author of the initiative to deliver high-quality drinking water from Oguz and Gabala Districts of Azerbaijan to Baku was nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev. He added that as a worthy successor to the great leader, President Ilham Aliyev took important steps to realize this idea – one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in Azerbaijan. The foundation for this project was laid in the village of Sinjan of Oguz District in March 2007, and construction began. To fill the pipeline stretching over 262 km with water, numerous artesian wells were drilled and a substation built. The main complex of water intake facilities was built on the territory of Oguz District at an altitude of 417 meters above sea level. In addition to that, numerous facilities were established along the pipeline to regulate water levels.

While in the control room, President Ilham Aliyev was shown a model pipeline, informed in detail of the diameter of pipes, length of the pipeline, water flow, river, highway and railway crossings, control over water flow, as well as chambers to reduce and regulate pressure.

While studying the diagram of the system of water intake facilities, the head of state reviewed the scheme reflecting the distribution of water delivered to Baku through the Oguz-Gabala-Baku and other existing water pipelines, water supply of the capital before and after the commissioning of Oguz-Gabala-Baku, and the complex of water intake facilities on the territory of Oguz District. The President was informed that so far 40 per cent of the Baku population had continuous water supply, while 60 per cent had water on a certain schedule. The commissioning of Oguz-Gabala-Baku will provide 75 per cent of the population with continuous water, while the rest will follow a certain schedule. Scheduled water supply will almost double.

It was further stated that new water lines would be built in the capital and that the existing small-diameter pipes will be replaced by larger ones. Thus, water supply to the city according to a schedule will be completely abolished in a few years. This problem in the towns adjoining Baku will be resolved by way of construction of new water and sewage systems.

President Ilham Aliyev was also informed of the SCADA system which ensures that control is exercised over the pipeline’s operation. It was noted that the system has the ability to immediately transmit information about possible accidents and leaks on the pipeline to the central office.

President Ilham Aliyev launched the facility supplying the capital with drinking water through the Oguz-Gabala-Baku pipeline.

The President toured the Heydar Aliyev museum set up within the complex. The museum contains photo and video images documenting the activities carried out at various times under the guidance of the great leader to improve the country’s water supply. President Aliyev watched documentary videos reflecting the work done by great leader Heydar Aliyev in the 1970s to supply the Kura River water to the capital.

Another corner of the museum features photographs reflecting the successful continuation of the mission by President Ilham Aliyev. It also contains pictures documenting the construction of the Oguz-Gabala-Baku pipeline.

President Ilham Aliyev was familiarized with the conditions at the office building of the complex. The head of state examined the laboratory where physical and chemical analyses of water are made. It was noted that the most sophisticated equipment and devices for continuous monitoring of the water make-up are installed here.

President Ilham Aliyev tasted to water being supplied to the capital through the Oguz-Gabala-Baku pipeline.

Then the head of state watched the water from the pipeline entering the feed chamber. It was reported that the water from the pipeline is pumped away by gravity to the existing reservoirs in the city, and then distributed to various parts of the capital.

The Absheron complex of facilities, the last point of the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline established at an altitude of 190 meters above sea level, is located 17 km from the capital. It has all the modern infrastructure to control the pipeline’s operation. In accordance with the best tender practices, German company CES Consulting Engineers Salzgitter has been selected to implement and run the project.

The design and construction of the water pipeline were carried out by a group of legal entities, Turan Khazinadaroglu Inshaat ve Tijaret, Tekser Inshaat Senaye ve Tijaret and Ganja Korpu Tikinti-2.

After familiarization with the complex, President Ilham Aliyev made a speech at the ceremony.

Speech by President Ilham Aliyev

Dear friends, today we are celebrating a wonderful and remarkable event. We are commissioning the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline. Let me heartily congratulate you and all the people of Azerbaijan on this wonderful event.

Indeed, this is a great historic event. As you may know, the issue of the availability of clean water sources in the Oguz-Gabala zone was raised several decades ago and proposals were made on how to deliver the water from this region to Baku. However, it was impossible to implement the project then. Today, in independent Azerbaijan, we have implemented this project, a project that has tremendous importance for our city and country.

This is a great achievement, a great victory. It shows that Azerbaijan, the independent Azerbaijani state can do anything. We are doing everything to strengthen our country, to conduct successful economic reforms, to improve the health and well-being of our people.

The initiative to build the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline was made five years ago. I remember those days very well. In 2005, I initiated to conducted an expanded government meeting. During that meeting we discussed various parameters of the project. Of course, we could never even imagine how large and complex this project would be. However, our will and desire have allowed us to implement it. In 2007, we laid the foundation of the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline, and then construction began. Today we are already celebrating the commissioning of this line.

This water pipeline will be very important for the residents of Baku. As you know, more than 60 per cent of the Baku population receives water intermittently. Of course, this is an intolerable situation for a modern city. The problem with water has existed in Baku for centuries. Various measures were taken at all times to supply Baku with drinking water, but due to the expansion of our capital and population growth, the measures did not produce the desired effect. Therefore, the delivery of clean and high-quality water to Baku from a new source was one of the major challenges facing us. I am very pleased that we have achieved this. According to the information available to me, the Oguz-Gabala-Baku pipeline will provide 75 per cent of the Baku population with uninterrupted clean and quality water meeting the standards of the World Health Organization.

We must continue working towards complete solution to the drinking water problem in Baku. Additional measures will be taken with this aim. Following the construction of the Takhtakorpu reservoir and the commissioning of the Samur-Absheron water facility, the volume of water in Baku will further increase. Additionally, even before the Oguz-Gabala-Baku and other projects, a lot of work had been done. Reservoirs and distribution lines were built in Baku. In other words, we need to completely renovate this infrastructure to ensure that the situation with water supply in Baku is not worse than in any other major city around the world, maybe even better.

We have all the opportunities to achieve that. First and foremost, there is a strong will and a sound policy. Our policy is socially-oriented. We have allocated significant resources for the construction of the pipeline and are aware that these funds may never be recovered. As you know, this is not a commercial project. This is purely social project, and the allocation of significant resources for it shows that the Azerbaijani government is doing everything to provide its population with high-quality drinking water.

If we did not have the economic capacity, then, of course, we could not have implemented this project. I do not believe that some international financial institution could have allocated a loan under this project. I do not believe in this because funds are usually allocated for projects of commercial nature. On the other hand, if Azerbaijan did not have strong financial resources, the issue of borrowing money from abroad would not even be on the agenda. Our successful economic policies initiated by great leader Heydar Aliyev and being successfully implemented today, as well as Azerbaijan’s oil strategy, have made all this possible.

Today we have all the opportunities to attract funds from abroad, from foreign financial markets. However, we have implemented this project ourselves, at our own expense, without any loans. This project has been implemented using the funds from the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan. As you may know, the projects financed by the State Oil Fund are of priority importance for the country. The inclusion of every single project on the investment portfolio of the State Oil Fund is, of course, widely discussed and necessary decisions are made. The projects implemented through the Oil Fund are of top priority for us, and the inclusion of the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline project on the Fund’s portfolio illustrates our intentions very well. If Azerbaijan had not carried out a successful oil policy, this project would have remained on paper. On the other hand, it is quite symbolic that the project has been financed from the State Oil Fund. The revenues derived from oil production, from the operation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline have been channeled into the construction of the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline.

This issue is very symbolic indeed, it demonstrates Azerbaijan’s successful policy again. It also shows that the biggest wealth for us, our greatest asset is the citizen of Azerbaijan. We have natural resources and a strong economy, but our country is made stronger and led forward by the citizens of Azerbaijan. We have achieved all these successes through the hard work of Azerbaijani citizens.

We will continue to work hard to successfully fulfill all the tasks facing the country. The Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline shows this very clearly. I want to say again that it is a large project requiring funding and technical expertise. We did not build pipelines of this size and volume before. But today we have successfully implemented this project. The main issue now is to take similar measures in all other areas. We have specific programs – a program on the development of districts, a program on further development of our country. We work in accordance with these programs. The successes achieved in recent years, the growing economy, the improving cities and infrastructure – all this is the reality of Azerbaijan.

Our country is successfully moving forward. The infrastructure projects currently under way will serve the successful development of our country in the future, for decades – power and gas lines, roads, social infrastructure, construction of water pipelines. The Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline is the biggest drinking water project. At the same time, specific work is already under way in Azerbaijani districts to resolve drinking water and sanitation problems. In some districts preparations have been started. In all our districts, this difficult and, unfortunately for us, perennial problem will be resolved. At the same time, following the construction of wastewater treatment plants in the villages situated on riverfronts, over 300,000 Azerbaijani citizens are provided with drinking water conforming to World Health Organization standards. This process is ongoing. These people used to consume poor-quality river water before.

In other words, one of the major issues facing us today is the implementation of projects relating to drinking water and sanitation. We strive to resolve this issue in Azerbaijan at the level of international standards. I do hope that this problem will be solved in the entire country soon, within a few years. I want to reiterate that we have all the opportunities to do that, a strong political will, a sound policy, specific programs, qualified professionals, competent local companies. We are successfully cooperating with foreign companies, and they have participated in this project as well. We already have strong financial opportunities, extensive domestic resources. We are capable of carrying out any project and are doing that. The goal of all the ongoing projects is to make Azerbaijan stronger, accelerate economic development in Azerbaijan, improve living standards and well-being. These are our main goals and objectives.

This day will go down in history. Once again, this pipeline will bring people comfort and health, because water means health. Clean drinking water is the biggest contributor to human health. Clean water, clean air – we must achieve this all. This is the purpose of the work carried out in Baku and other regions - work aimed at improving the environmental situation. Today, a large waste recycling plant is being built in Baku, the Balakhany landfill has already been cleaned and the smoke that used to cloud the city is no longer rising from there. This means cleaner air. We have already switched to the Euro-2 standard. Now we must move on to Euro-3, then Euro-4 and other higher environmental standards. Where will this lead to?! This will make our air cleaner.

There is extensive building and creative work in Azerbaijan. This certainly pollutes the air. The standard of living increases, as tens of thousands of new cars are brought to Baku every year. This is another contributor to air pollution. We must clean the air. Drinking water must be of high quality, so that the citizens of Azerbaijan are healthy. Doing sports is also great. The construction of new hospitals and diagnostic centers is a health improving factor. Clean drinking water, clean air, clean environment - all this also means health. We must make sure that the citizens of Azerbaijan are healthy. We must ensure that the most advanced criteria existing in the world are applied to Azerbaijan, including those relating to drinking water which are essential for human health.

I want to cordially congratulate you, the residents of Baku, all Azerbaijani people, on this wonderful event. I want to assure the citizens of Azerbaijan that we will continue to do everything for the country's development, for the solution of social problems, and will successfully lead our country forward. Taking this opportunity, let me warmly congratulate you, dear friends, on the upcoming Day of Solidarity of World Azerbaijanis and the New Year, and wish you good health and happiness. Thank you.