Bulgarian Construction Chamber (BCC) and Bulgarian Water Association (BWA) gathered experts from the water sector for the sixth consecutive year at the national conference “OP Environment and the Rural Development Program in the period 2014 – 2020”. Media partner of the event was Stroitel Newspaper. It was held at Sredets Hall of Sofia Hotel Balkan.
The opening of the forum was attended by Lilyana Pavlova, Minister of Regional Development and Public Works (retired), Atanaska Nikolova, Deputy Minister of Environment and Water, Eng. Ivan Ivanov, Chairman of BWA, Eng. Nikolay Stankov, Chairman of MB of BCC. Presentations were made by Nevena Ivanova, head of “Development of water supply and sewerage” unit in “Water supply and sewerage” Department at the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, Gergana Grozdanova, head of the Monitoring Department in General Directorate “OP Environment” at MEW, Reneta Koleva, Executive Director of the Enterprise for Management of Environmental Protection Activities (EMEPA), Kalin Kamenov, Mayor of Vratsa Municipality, Anton Asparuhov, Director of “Development of Rural Regions” Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The program was also attended by Iliya Kardashliev, banker at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Eng. Blagoy Kozarev, member of the MB of BCC and Deputy Chairman of BWA, Stanislava Dimitrova from the US Embassy in Bulgaria.
Lenko Georgiev, Manager at Grundfos Bulgaria EOOD, presented the topic of energy efficiency and contracts with guaranteed result as a financial instrument. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Eng. Irina Ribarova presented centralized and decentralized collection and treatment of wastewater, Eng. Krasimira Kuzmanova – the role of designers in the context of the previous and future periods of functioning of OPE and RDP. Eng. Srdjan Draganovic, consultant, presented the advantages of vacuum sewer systems.
Eng. Svetoslav Glosov, former Chairman of MB of BCC, Borislav Velikov, member of the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Water, members of the Board of the Chamber and of BWA and more than 100 representatives of the sector participated in the conference.
“I will start with a special address to Eng. Nikolay Stankov. I want to congratulate you on your election as Chairman of the Board of the Bulgarian Construction Chamber. I wish you a successful mandate,” said at the opening of the forum Minister Lilyana Pavlova.
“The water reform is a possible mission.
We proved that together with the institutions participating in this process – the Ministry of Environment and Water and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The two main sources of funding are the Operational Program “Environment 2014 – 2020” and the Rural Development Program,” she said adding that the associations were formed in all areas, the division of assets is a fact and water operators were selected. In 21 of the districts the entire phase of the reform is over. The operators have been consolidated there. Pavlova thanked all who have fulfilled the necessary steps to make this happen.
“It is important in the 21st century to provide clean drinking water of good quality and continuity of water supply and better management of the sector,” the minister said and urged the available resource of European solidarity in the amount of about BGN 2 billion to be invested wisely in order to be effective.
“Currently we are working actively to implement the so-called
early water projects
under OPE. For them are provided more than BGN 750 million. The contract for the water cycle of Asenovgrad was signed. Contracts with the municipalities of Pleven, Dobrich and Plovdiv are to be initialed,” said Atanaska Nikolova, Deputy Minister of Environment and Water.
From her speech it became clear that a grant contract was signed for the second phase of the project of Vratsa. The sites in Bansko, Zlatni Pyasatsi, Vidin, Radnevo, Tervel and Yambol are being performed.
The implementation of the first phased project was completed. This is a wastewater treatment plant of Shumen, which was opened in September.
Nikolova reminded that 30 September was the deadline for submission of 5 proposals for Primorsko, Aitos, Tutrakan, Chirpan and Elhovo. They are worth more than BGN 117 million. In 2017 will be announced the largest procedure in sector “Water” for more than BGN 1.5 billion. Water companies on which territory currently are prepared the regional feasibility studies will be able to apply for funding under it.
“I am very pleased that for the all six years we have had a serious cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works and the Ministry of Environment and Water. I hope the complicated political situation will not affect negatively the programs,” said Eng. Ivan Ivanov, Chairman of BWA.
“The conference is important because at the end of each year it is good
to strike a balance
what is done and what is coming next year, to give opportunity to all participants in the process to express their point of view. That is why in the program of the event we always include presentations of key persons in the process – key departments, representatives of local authorities, water operators and so on,” he said adding that in 2016 is given a chance to financing institutions to express their attitude and say what their opportunities to allocate funds to the projects are. In his words, one of the successes is the development of standardized documents for procedures in the water sector. He described them as a necessity that will reduce the risk of termination of projects for administrative reasons. “I hope that when the implementation of the sites begins we will not have problems with delay of the work,” Eng. Ivanov added.
“I congratulate the election of Eng. Nikolay Stankov as Chairman of the MB of BCC. I hope that we will continue our good cooperation as before because we have mutual interests and common members in the
Chamber and BWA. I think that what we do together up to now contributes to achieving good results both in the construction and in the water sector,” he ended his speech.
“I thank Minister Pavlova for the congratulations. I assure everyone that
BCC is an institution with traditions
part of which is also continuity. We will continue to work in dialog with departments and in particular with the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works. So far, this model has shown to be successful and fruitful. I take this opportunity to thank Eng. Ivanov and assure him that we will continue to work together,” said Eng. Nikolay Stankov and added that he is extremely pleased that the first event in the opening of which he is taking part as chairman of the Chamber is precisely the conference “The Operational Program Environment and the Rural Development Program in the period 2014 – 2020”. According to him, the fact that the forum is held for the sixth time and gathers a wide range of experts – from the highest level of state and local authorities, construction and water sector, design industry, and traditionally it is attended by respected foreign guests, makes it one of the most significant for the industry annual events.
“We are at an important stage of the programming period 2014 – 2020 in which construction companies expect the announcement of the first tenders. In the previous period Bulgarian companies and the managing authorities of operational programs have gained considerable experience,” he said and reminded that we have learnt many lessons such as that the standardization of tender documents is crucial. He stressed that this is why the Chamber jointly with the Ministry of Environment and Water and MA of OPE has developed standardized documents on OPE 2014 – 2020. “We hope that they will make procedures in the water sector much easier and transparent and will contribute to the successful realization of upcoming projects,” he said.
“The work we succeeded to do was a lot but there is a lot more. As beneficiaries of OPE we are performing
two projects for the development of water supply and sewerage.
Their total value is nearly BGN 75 million. One of the projects is connected with preparation of regional feasibility studies across 14 water operators,” said Nevena Ivanova, head of “Development of water supply and sewerage” unit in “Water supply and sewerage” Department at the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works. She presented in detail the work of the ministry on the water reform.
“In the current programming period
we plan to strengthen the monitoring of projects on the spot,”
said Gergana Grozdanova, head of the Monitoring Department at General Directorate “OP Environment”. “When we have costs to refund, especially for construction or major activities, will be organized visits to the sites for their confirmation which will speed up the process,” she pointed out and urged beneficiaries for accurate and actual data. “When we have correct information on the progress of the projects, we could offer measures to overcome the difficulties,” stressed Gergana Grozdanova.
“Over the past two years EMEPA has realized significant investments in the water sector.
These are over BGN 140 million, of which BGN 62 million were invested in 2016. Within 2017 will be signed contracts for another BGN 30 million. In the water sector for the past two years EMEPA has supported a total of 82 projects, of which 62 have been completed,” said Reneta Koleva, Executive Director of the enterprise. She said the planned expenditure for 2017 in the budget of the institution is BGN 91.2 million. It may increase if we continue with the successful fulfillment of revenues that are generated according to the Water Act. For the current year were put BGN 40 million but were exceeded additional BGN 15 million. Koleva said that if maintaining this trend in the next four years EMEPA can achieve investments in the water sector amounting to over BGN 380 million.
The mayor of Vratsa Municipality Kalin Kamenov said to the participants in the forum that in the current programming period is expected to be implemented the largest and unique in itself site for rehabilitation and reconstruction of the main water pipeline from Srechenska bara dam to the town. The route is 33.3 km long and passes through the territory of two districts and four municipalities. The water pipeline is more than 50 years old and is the major source of drinking water for Vratsa and the region.
Anton Asparuhov, Director of “Development of Rural Regions” Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, reminded that in October ended the first intake under measure 7 of RDP 2014-2020. Under the program for water projects are provided 85 million euros. “The interest was huge and the requests amounting to 279 million euros exceeded 3 times the budget,” he said adding that were submitted 113 applications for water projects, 111 were filed by municipalities and 2 by water operators – of Vratsa and Stara Zagora. According to him, the projects will be framed and 1/3 of them will get funding.
“EBRD for quite some time monitors the development and dynamics of the water sector. We welcome the reform which gained momentum in the last 1 – 2 years,” said Iliya Kardashliev and stressed that without banking institutions it would be difficult to come to an end. According to him, the reason is that even when receiving funds from EU programs should be provided self-participation. The banker explained the EBRD funds in two ways – directly or indirectly through intermediaries, such as the FLAG Fund.
“We have not only developed standardized contracts
but the whole package of documents,
which accompanies the implementation of these projects in the part of contracting and tendering and then reporting the sites,” said Eng. Blagoy Kozarev. He added that those documents were drawn up jointly with experts from the Ministry of Environment and Water. “The very documentation is quite detailed and voluminous and we will publish it in several consecutive editions of Stroitel Newspaper, he said.
“These are technical specifications divided into those for construction and engineering of water equipment and technical specifications for engineering of wastewater treatment plants, for water supply and sewerage networks and facilities and so on,” added Ina Yordanova, head of the working group.
“The US Commercial Department in Bulgaria is very active in the water sector in the country and this is a fact for many years. In America the sector is very strong and we are leading in the world in terms of technologies and production of energy from waste products in the water sector. We work with Bulgarian companies,” said Stanislava Dimitrova, representative of the US Department of Commerce in Bulgaria adding that the institution may also finance visits of American lecturers in Bulgaria who can share the experience they have in the field of environmental projects.
-consultant Assoc. Prof. Dr. Eng. Irina Ribarova made a presentation on the centralized and decentralized collection and treatment of wastewater. “A working group is composed, which is committed to change the Spatial Planning Act concerning the topic. We have made proposals for amendments to the Water Act and the Spatial Planning Act. It is important the normative act to untie the hands for building individual systems for wastewater treatment,” she said.
“In the past programming period were made efforts and were taken many steps in the right direction for advancing in the state of the water sector,” added Eng. Krasimira Kuzmanova and stressed that currently regional feasibility studies are the most important and necessary for development of the sector. After the presentations was held a discussion about the next steps in the implementation of water projects.