Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Waterpipe Story

I'll point stories out occasionally that will be in the European press....which won't be covered in the US or even to a marginal degree in Germany.  The water pipeline that opened this week in Cyprus is one of those stories.

If you've never been to's an island that is barely off the coast of Turkey and is independent to some degree.  There is a North Cyprus (run by the Turks) and a South Cyprus (run by the Greek Cypriots themselves, not Greece).  This is all due to a civil conflict that erupted in the 1974.

What is mostly said is that Cyprus prior to the conflict was a quiet community with both Greeks and Turks occupying the island.....for hundreds of years.  The population prior to the conflict was probably eighty-percent roughly Greek Cypriot and twenty-percent Turk.  However, it should be point out that various communities on the isle (one-tenth the size of the state of Alabama) was entirely Turk or entirely Greek Cypriot.  Prior to the conflict....probably three-quarters of the island was entirely one way or the other....with barely a quarter representing some combination factor of both groups.

The start-up of the conflict?  This is a comical sort of story to tell but if you lined up a hundred Greek Cypriots.....they'd all tell their version with a slight twist or two.  If you line up a hundred Cypriot Turks, they'd all tell their version with a slight twist or two.  Historians give mixed versions and you can't be sure of much.  Based on my readings....Greek political discussions in the late 1960s started to stir up the political mechanisms of Cyprus.

By 1974, the Turkish government back in Turkey reached a point where they feared for the safety of Turks on the island.  It wasn't their island, but it wasn't exactly property of Greece either.  Both played into the situation and were manipulated by various factions on the the natural thing to occur....a split.....was the only possible outcome.

So, here's the thing about the island, which only a non-resident would come to notice and comment extensively upon.....there's just not much of a water supply.

When you check into a hotel, there's this sign in the WC (the bathroom) which says.....after you wipe your butt.....put the paper into a can next to the toilet....NOT in the water basin itself.  The reason is that when you flush....there's barely a quarter of the power behind the normal flush that you'd expect in the states or in Germany.  No, I'm not kidding.

Everywhere you go, there's a limit on water usage.  There just aren't any golf courses or significant swimming pools.

Farmers complain because there's a fair amount of limit on water usage for irrigation purposes.  There's tons of property and a vast amount of potential for crops.....if you could just irrigate with a unlimited amount of water.

Well, this week....Turkey opened up this 107 kilometer (67 mile) bring water to North Cyprus (controlled by the Turkish Cypriot population).  Yes, it only pumps water.

By the general figures that are projected.....there's roughly 38 million cubic meters of water strictly for drinking or bathing purposes, and another 37 million cubic meters for irrigation usage.  There's been a fair amount of hype going on with Turk-Cypriots on farm expansion and potential for agricultural growth/business projection.

Naturally, there's some aggravation by the general population on the south side of the border.  No one is building a pipeline to their territory.  Their Greek-Cypriot political figures aren't saying much.  The Turk-Cypriot political figures?  They have said that the minute that the island re-unites.....the water will be shared among their neighbors.  They can say this with a smile because they know that the Greek political machine will never allow that to happen.

In some way, it's a test of the haves and the have-nots.  It's not a fantastic amount of water that is being pumped out to Cyprus, but it's enough that you'd notice more irrigation and more production as time goes by.  The Greek political machine will argue over the unfairness, but they really can't do much to fix this unfairness.  As for hotels on the north side of the isle?  I'm guessing within a year....these stupid signs will start to disappear that mandated you put your toilet paper into the can next to the 'pot', and just flush away.

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