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Sofia City Council approves water supply from Sofia to Pernik

Sofia City Council approves water supply from Sofia to Pernik

28 January 2020 | 16:13 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. With 56 votes in favour and one abstention, the Sofia City Council (SCC) has approved a report which green-lights water supply from Sofia to Pernik, Focus News Agency reported.

Yesterday, three SCC’ committees met to discuss the matter: the engineering infrastructure and energy planning committee, the economy and property committee, and the finance and budget committee. They decided to allow the supply of water to Pernik through Sofia’s water supply system.

The government had made a decision to build a pumping station and a 13.5 km water pipeline to supply Pernik with water from the Beli Iskar Dam, which provides 25% of the water to Sofia.
The main concern during yesterday's discussions was related to the condition of the Rila water pipeline and whether it would withstand the additional pressure. A plumbing accident would mean no water for both Sofia and Pernik.

In an interview this morning, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova reassured Sofia residents that there was no risk for the water supply to the city and that the capacity of the Beli Iskar and Iskar dams was sufficient to meet residents' drinking water needs for years to come.
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Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova: It is possible to supply water to Pernik through the capital’s pipeline network

Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova: It is possible to supply water to Pernik through the capital’s pipeline network

27 January 2020 | 14:23 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. It is very important to me that Sofia residents know what control systems are available to Sofia and Sofiyska Voda [utility company] so that they remain calm and not believe speculations, which, unfortunately, always occur at a time of crisis, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova said during a visit to the Bistritsa drinking water treatment plant, Focus News Agency reported.

"As to the report which will be considered tomorrow at the Sofia City Council regarding the possibility of supplying additional quantities through the water supply network of Sofiyska Voda […] through the water pipeline that the government will built to help Pernik, it is important to me that we do whatever we can [to offer assistance to Pernik’s residents] but without affecting the people in Sofia and Sofia Municipality," said Fandakova.

In her words, all possible analyses were made and experts assured that this water supply was possible.

The opinion of experts and responsible institutions is what matters, the mayor noted. A control centre monitors in real time 24 hours water levels in dams and stations, water quality, accidents, Mayor Fandakova explained. 52 reservoirs are being monitored and their water levels are reported to her every morning, she said.
"I think Sofia citizens have realised that they are not at risk of running out of water," Fandakova said.
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With 111 votes in favour, 96 against and no abstentions, Parliament accepts Neno Dimov's resignation and appoints Emil Dimitrov as environment minister

With 111 votes in favour, 96 against and no abstentions, Parliament accepts Neno Dimov's resignation and appoints Emil Dimitrov as environment minister

15 January 2020 | 12:27 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. With 111 votes in favour, 96 against and no abstentions, the National Assembly has accepted the resignation of Neno Dimov and appointed Emil Dimitrov as environment minister, Focus News Agency reported. Neno Dimov was forced to step down over the water crisis in Pernik.

Emil Dimitrov's nomination was confirmed by the ruling coalition council on Tuesday. He was sworn in as Minister of Environment and Water at the Parliament in the presence of almost the entire Cabinet of Prime Minister Borissov.
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Emil Dimitrov proposed as Bulgaria's new minister of environment and water

Emil Dimitrov proposed as Bulgaria's new minister of environment and water

14 January 2020 | 12:08 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. Emil Dimitrov has been proposed as the new environment minister, Focus News Agency reported. This was decided by the Coalition Council between GERB and the United Patriots. The name was announced by VMRO leader and Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov. The nomination is yet to be voted on by the National Assembly.

The reason for yet another new appointment in the Cabinet was the resignation of the minister of environment and water, Neno Dimov, who is currently remanded in custody on charges of deliberate mismanagement. According to the prosecutors, Dimov allowed water supply for industrial purposes to the Stomana Industry and Toplofikatsiya Pernik companies, although he was aware that the Studena reservoir water levels were decreasing.

Neno Dimov was the ninth minister to step down in the third Government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.

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PM Boyko Borissov accepted resignation of Minister of Environment and Water Neno Dimov

PM Boyko Borissov accepted resignation of Minister of Environment and Water Neno Dimov

10 January 2020 | 14:25 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. Minister of Environment and Water Neno Dimov has submitted his resignation at the office of the Prime Minister, Boyko Borissov, said the government press office. Prime Minister Borissov has accepted the resignation of Minister Dimov.
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Reuters: Bulgarian environment minister detained over water crisis: prosecutor's office

Reuters: Bulgarian environment minister detained over water crisis: prosecutor's office

10 January 2020 | 09:43 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. Bulgaria’s Minister of Environment and Water Neno Dimov was detained on Thursday after prosecutors questioned him in relation to a probe over chronic water shortages in the western town of Pernik, Reuters reported.

Dimov, who has not been charged, told reporters he was cooperating before getting into a police van. He had been questioned by Special Prosecutor’s Office staff and Interior Ministry officers at his office.

Pernik, a town with population of more than 70,000, has been subject to severe and continuing water restrictions for about two months, a matter that has been under investigation by several institutions.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said Dimov's job was a matter for discussion with the ruling coalition partners. In the third Borissov government, formed in May 2017, Dimov was nominated to the post by the minority partner in the coalition, the nationalist United Patriots.

The Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement that Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev visited Pernik on Thursday to co-ordinate actions in the investigation connected to pre-trial proceedings regarding the water crisis in the town, which lies about 25 km (16 miles) west of the capital Sofia.

"Evidence is being collected of crimes committed by officials that led to water supply problems in Pernik," the office said in a statement.

The Socialist Party - the largest opposition party - said it would file a no-confidence motion against Borissov's government, accusing it of failing to ensure proper water and clean air policies, resulting in the water restrictions in Pernik, and serious air pollution in many Bulgarian cities.

The motion is unlikely to pass, as the government enjoys the support of a small populist party and can secure parliamentary majority.

Prosecutors have focused their investigation on possible mismanagement - whether local officials from the supply company and the municipal administration have taken appropriate steps to ensure the water supply to Pernik and several nearby towns.
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Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev: Whether there will be arrests over the water crisis in Pernik will be clear by the end of the day

Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev: Whether there will be arrests over the water crisis in Pernik will be clear by the end of the day

9 January 2020 | 13:35 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. Whether there will be arrests over the water crisis in Pernik will be clear by the end of the day, said Ivan Geshev, the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Bulgaria, informing reporters about the special operation taking place in Pernik, Focus News Agency reported. "I haven’t had a meeting with the governor of Pernik, I had a meeting with the mayor. We expect serious results from this operation,” he said.

The Special Prosecutor's Office will give details of the pre-trial proceedings instituted in Pernik and Sofia over the water crisis in Pernik, Geshev said. The operation is being carried out by investigators from the Special Prosecutor's Office in cooperation with the State Agency for National Security, the Ministry of Interior and the anti-corruption commission.

Geshev said that the operation was launched over the water crisis in Pernik and the failure to take the necessary actions to prevent the tragedy. "We are concerned with the issue in terms of criminal liability. We are not interested in other accountabilities such as moral or political," he said.
"We are checking whether the dam in Pernik had been drained. We are also checking the repairs made to the dam. At the moment, we have no evidence of crime. But this is also a subject of the pre-trial proceedings," Ivan Geshev said.
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Water rationing schedule in Pernik begins today

Water rationing schedule in Pernik begins today

18 November 2019 | 10:26 | FOCUS News Agency
Pernik. A water rationing schedule begins today in Pernik, said the municipality's press office. The Mayor of Pernik, Stanislav Vladimirov, announced the imposition of water rationing for the cities of Pernik, Batanovtsi and the villages of Golyamo Buchino, Lyulin, Divotino, Meshtitsa, Vitanovtsi, Bogdanov dol, Yardzhilovtsi, Cherna gora and Leskovets. As of today, residents will have running water from 5:00 am to 10:00 am, and from 05:00 pm to 10:00 pm. For the rest of the day and at night the water supply will be suspended.
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Minister Petya Avramova: We are looking for additional water sources for Pernik, I urge the mayor to issue the order for water rationing as soon as possible

Minister Petya Avramova: We are looking for additional water sources for Pernik, I urge the mayor to issue the order for water rationing as soon as possible

15 November 2019 | 13:33 | FOCUS News Agency
Sofia. We are looking for additional water sources for Pernik, I urge the mayor to issue the order for water rationing as soon as possible, Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Petya Avramova told journalists, referring to the water scarcity situation in Pernik, Focus News Agency reported. "The measures need to be complex and they do not concern only MRDPW, as the principal of the water utility company in Pernik. We already had a meeting with the regional governor of Pernik, with the mayor of Pernik, at which we discussed together with the utility different options for water supply of Pernik. Unfortunately, the reservoir that supplies Pernik, Studena, was designed and built as a one-year dam, that is, its main inflow is from snowmelt. You know that we had a difficult year, little rainfall, which created a problem with drinking water in Pernik," said Avramova, adding that additional water sources were being sought. "We have an idea for water supply from the Dolna Dikanya Dam. We are looking for a backup supply option. We have taken samples from the dam to see if it is at all suitable for drinking. After that we will proceed with technical measures to connect the two dams. What I want to happen faster. I understand the mayor of Pernik, he is new to the position, I understand his concern to issue an order for water rationing. We have discussed various options. We have agreed on the most lenient one for the population and for the dam as water quantities," said Avramova.
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