Land prices in North Cyprus have tripled since new undersea pipelines began to deliver water to the island from Turkey. The Northern Cyprus Water Supply project, as it is officially known, started to supply drinking and irrigation water to the TRNC in October.
The project had been on Turkey’s agenda since the 1990s, and was launched in 2011. It will provide sufficient amounts of water for 30 years. Each year, 75 million cubic meters of water will be supplied from Anamur’s Dragon Stream to the Gecitkoy Dam, west of Kyrenia. Half of the supplied water will be used as drinking water, while the other half will be used for irrigation.
The reviving impact on the economy is even clearer in terms of tourism, agriculture, real estate and industry. Land prices have already tripled and are expected to increase 300% over the next two years.
Thanks to the project, the Mesarya and Guzelyurt regions, on which agriculture without irrigation system, will be converted into the agricultural stocks of the island. The project is also expected to convert Mesarya, Guzelyurt and Bafra Island into new regions for tourism. Investments in North Cyprus tourism are expected to double over the next three years. Since the project will increase the amount of agricultural land from 1,977 acres to 9,884 acres, it will notably increase agricultural employment and likely make the island 50% more productive and self-sufficient – decreasing the need for imports.
Deniz Kürşat, a real estate agent working in the TRNC, verified the increase in land prices in Mesarya and Guzelyurt because of the project, saying that it can mostly be attributed to the expected increase in agriculture. Kürşat also explained the expected expansion of the tourism sector by saying that hotels were responsible for decontaminating water, requiring them to allocate a large amount of money that can now be used for more efficient investments in the sector.
The Association of Cypriot Turkish Industrialists Chairman Ali Çıralı stressed that most imports are food and agricultural products. Çıralı added that the project, which is expected to increase agricultural productivity by 50%, would notably decrease the dependency on imports.
Bünyamin Yüksekbaş, a member of the board of directors of Yüksekbaş Group, which operates in the food, trade, construction and service sectors, underlined that the project will be an important contributor to agricultural employment, stressing the project will help agriculture to become one of the most important income sources along with education and tourism. Another Yüksekbaş Group board member, Sabih Can Yüksekbaş, said the project would greatly increase productivity, making the island a source of agriculture and livestock products. Sabih Can Yüksekbaş also reiterated that Cyprus has been in need of water for many years, which is why it could not efficiently support agriculture.
Currently, 25,000 families work in agriculture on the island. However, this number is expected to increase by 4o%. Experts claim this increase is realistic, considering the fact that the island is not chemically contaminated; therefore, it remains fertile and the island has great potential for the supply side of the agricultural sector. As a result, this clearly shows that agriculture and its related employment will rise because of the water project.