Alexander TVALCHRELIDZE, Avtandil SILAGADZE


Alexander Tvalchrelidze, D.Sc. (Geology and Mineralogy), Full Member of the Georgian Academy of Natural Sciences (Tbilisi, Georgia).

Avtandil Silagadze, D.Sc. (Econ.), Corresponding Member of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences (Tbilisi, Georgia).


GEORGIAS FRESH MINERAL WATER FOR EUROPE

ABSTRACT

This article analyzes the issues relating to Georgias fresh mineral water supplies, their unproductive use today, and the daily increase in demand for these resources in Europe. Based on this, the authors offer possible alternatives for transporting fresh mineral water from Georgia to Europe by means of a water pipeline and present several preliminary feasibility parameters of this project. The authors think the project will be economically profitable for all the interested parties, including Georgia. In addition to the direct economic benefit, Georgia will significantly raise its role as a partner of the European Union, which will help to accelerate its integration into the EU and NATO.

Introduction

In 20-30 years, fresh drinking water will be the most expensive raw material in the world markets. According to the U.N., more than 2.8 billion people today have inadequate access to safe drinking water. Europe is also facing serious drinking water shortages. By 2025, the whole of Europe will be experiencing a water crisis, but the problem will be the acutest in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. There are several reasons for these future irreversible changes:

  • 1.  Exhaustion of Europes fresh water reservoirs;
  • 2.  Increase in the population and, consequently, in the demand for water;
  • 3.  A severe drop in atmospheric precipitation caused by climatic changes, which, in turn, will lead to a water shortage of 5 percent (Central Europe) to 25 percent (Southern Europe).
  • Today, more than 80% of EU inhabitants depend on surface water systems for their water supply, whereby the chemical and bacteriological properties of this water do not meet U.N. or EU standards due to the pollution of surface water with production wastes and agricultural nitrates.

    So the European Union must urgently look for new sources of drinking water to be delivered to the European market in the next 10-12 years. However, this task will be complicated by the world economic crisis, which has caused a severe cutback in the funding of new global projects.

    Although it escaped the brunt of the global economic crisis, Georgia has also been affected by its consequences: economic growth rates and foreign direct investments have perceptibly dropped, while the inflation rate, foreign debts, negative international trade balance, unemployment level, and


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