Submitted by: Ulèsjellès kanalizime sh.a.Pogradec (UK Pogradec)
Implemented country: Albania
Title: State-of-the-Art Water Infrastructure Helps Preserve the World’s Oldest Lake
Engjellushe Icka grew up in the picturesque tourist town of Pogradec near Lake Ohrid in Albania. She loves her home’s beautiful countryside and wants to help preserve it. Lake Ohrid-is one of the world’s oldest lakes and part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. The lake belongs to Macedonia and partly to Albania. Until only several years ago, the local population as well as the industry used Lake Ohrid as a sewer. The lake’s ecological balance was nearly on the edge and there was no controlled water and waste-water supply in the entire region. So, something needed to be done. The Ministry of Infrastructure began to take action. Funds were scarce, but with the help of German and Swiss bank loans totaling nearly 30 million euros, plans were then able to be made. A company specializing in water sanitation and supply by the name of Ujesjelles Kanalizime in Pogradec was awarded the contract and that’s where Engjellushe Icka works as project coordinator. Her job was to improve water supply, develop a sewage network for Pogradec and the surrounding communities, bring the standards of public health up to WHO level, and boost local tourism.
There was no proper water supply in Pogradec. Tap water was available for only six hours during the day and waste water was simply drained into Lake Ohrid, which nearly destroyed it. Electricity was a scarce commodity and not safe. The weak infrastructure was destroying the environment as well as the quality of life for the local population. This was soon to change. The project was completed in four phases. 2002 to 2006: Development and budget planning for sewer-line construction and public relations; 2005 to 2007: development of a safe and stable 24-hour-tapwater supply system; 2007 to 2009: Phase I of sewage disposal to purify Lake Ohrid. 2009 to 2010: Phase II: Connection of Pogradec to the water mains. Phase III has been in the planning stages since 2011. This entire project was no walk through the woods for Engjellushe Icka. More often than not she had to reconcile cultural differences between investors, consultants and contractors, which required a lot of tact and sure instinct.
Today, the city of Pogradec with its population of nearly 54, 000 gets its clean drinking water from three drinking water reservoirs around the clock. Power supply is ensured and safe, and energy-efficient water pumps have been installed. Sewer systems and waste-water systems have given old Lake Ohrid its intact eco-system back. Electronic monitoring of the water supply system helped save approximately 150,000 euros; the annual energy consumption for the water pumps went down from 3.6 gigawatt hours to 2.0 gigawatt hours. All this was achieved by investing a grand total of 510 euros per capita. Now Phase III for the development of the sewer system has begun. Engjellushe Icka is currently working on the bidding process. Her motto is “Straight forward!” – which she learned while a student in Nebraska, U.S.A. Success has proven her right.
"Find peace for your soul so you can give peace to the world."