The history of Baku city's water supply 

   The History of initial water supply of Baku starts from XVIII century. According to the historical sources at the end of XVIII century 3 water pipelines connected with the names of Baku Khans were built in the city. In the north of Baku, “Shah” water pipeline which takes water from 3 springs in the plateau was installed in the 20th of XVIII century. This pipeline entered to the city in the direction of area which presently homes the metro station “Icherisheher”. “Shah” water pipeline mainly provided “Shirvanshahlar” Palace Complex and habitations around it with drinkable water.

   “Mammadqulukhan” water pipeline built in 1791-1792 received water from two springs located in the area which is presently сlose to the Martyr’s Ally. This pipeline was entering from the bottom part of present Philarmony Building to Baku providing the west and the south part of Ichery Sheher with drinkable water. 

   3rd pipeline which provided the population of the capital with drinkable water was named after Baku Khan, Huseynqulu khan. The Pipeline was receiving its source from 2 springs located in present Azerbaijan Avenue. Currently, one of these well’s place is still remaining near the Fuzuli square. On the way the water of another spring had been joining to the pipeline and entering to the city in the direction of “Qosha qapi”. During that time more that 1000 wells also had been used for water supply. Most of them had been used only for living purposes. And now some of these wells are being used for irrigation of greenness.

  The period until 1893 was recalled as period of mass usage of wells for provision of Baku with well water. In 1859, after the earthquake that destroyed Shamakhi completely it was offered to transfer the centre of province to Baku. With unfreezing sea port in Absheron peninsula and dry and cold climate in winter Baku was considered suitable as centre. Russian emperor Alexander II gave consent for Baku castle to be the capital city of province.  During forthcoming 15 years there was rapid development in the field of construction and oil industry.

  During that time, the problem of drinkable water observed in the Absheron peninsula all the same. Well water with high hardness and bitter-salty taste was considered of low-quality. Leakage of waste water to the wells reduced their quality very much. In some historical sources was noted that the main cause of cholera epidemic in Baku in 1892 was the result of poor quality of water supply.

      In 1880, after investigation sources around Baku, Special Committee on searching drinkable water sources under City Duma had a negative opinion. Thus it was put an end to the searches for water sources around Baku and for developing city the committee decided to search water sources outside of the Absheron peninsula.

   City administration, taking into account that it will take much time to transfer water from remote areas, worked on alternative versions, in 1893 device that refined sea water from salt which had 30 thousand buckets strength per day (350m3/day) was built in Baku.  In 1898 improved device which had 90 thousand buckets strength per day (1100m3/day) had been put into use. Water was transferred to mine districts by Zagulba pipeline which put into operation in 1903.

   Transferring water from Kur to Baku was realized during this period.  200 thousand buckets water (2500 m³/day) was transferred by barges of “Kur Chayi” Company which was founded in 1903. During that time only half of the transferred water was refined. For this purpose special ponds were built in the coastal area of the city, and filters of American Company “Cuel” were constructed. At the beginning of XX century water was transferred to Baku from Volga by barges. This water was sold more expensive than others- 2 qepiks per bucket. During that time in spite of the diversity and the majority of water supply sources, it was possible to supply city with water about 200 thousand buckets per day.  That is, totally 16 liters of water per one person.

  Dealing with water supply problems City Duma often held discussions about transferring water outside of Absheron peninsula. The greatest support in foundation of new water supply system was given by oil millionaire Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev.   By his offer Duma’s special committee on searching for drinkable water sources ordered the preparation of the project to foreign specialists. Taking Kur and Samur as basic English engineer William Lindley was charged the preparation of water supply project of Baku.

  Based on researches English engineer, in addition to the sources of surface water offered the usage of ground water. Although in the City Duma there were those who objected to it, William Lindley could get permission for investigation of ground water. Although the expedition led by Lindley began investigation near Shollar village of Guba province, the work ceased unfinished.

   By Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev’s insistence William Lindley again invited to Baku and expedition started the work. Lindley presented projects about transferring water from Shollar (187 km distance from Baku), from Kur River (110 km distance from Baku), and from Samur River (200 km distance from Baku) to Absheron peninsula.  Lindley who preferred “Underground water” version chose Shollar from technical, sanitary and financial point of view.

  After discussions City Duma accepted the “Underground water” version and in 1911 the construction of Shollar-Baku water pipeline started. The construction of pipeline and drilling of wells were carried out in parallel. Despite of it, construction carried out very slowly, even there were pauses at certain times. After 14 years in March,1917 water was delivered to Baku population by Shollar pipeline. In 1930s when technical work carried out in artesian wells the productivity of the source was increased up to several times.

   5 years Plans of USSR and the development of national economy increased demands for drinkable water in Absheron peninsula and building of a new water pipeline was necessary. This issue was discussed widely in 1930s and Azerbaijan SSR administration among several offered version approved the construction of a new pipeline from Khachmaz which is located 170 km north from Baku.  So, in 1934 the construction of the 2nd Baku Water Pipeline was started. Dealing with Great Patriotic War there were pauses in construction of the pipeline. Finally in 1958 the pipeline was put into use.

   The decision of the Soviet Union Communist Party to create a big industry centre in the north of Absheron and building of chemistry plants in Sumgait in 1950s demanded the construction of the new water supply sources. Although specialists noted the possibility of several versions, Azerbaijan administration approved the project offered by English engineer Lindley at the beginning of the century and which was based from economical point of view. This version meant transferring water from Samur River to Jeyranbatan water reservoir and the construction of cleaning devices on the banks of reservoir. It was planned to use from Samur-Absheron canal’s water as well as for irrigation purposes.

   In 1951-1957 a new water reservoir was constructed in the place of "Deveyatagı" and "Jeyranbatan" lakes in the north-west of the Absheron peninsula. At the same time the extension of Samur-Devechi canal up to Absheron the construction of which had been started even before the war was carried out.  Further in 1961, 1966 and 1978 water cleaning devices near Jeyranbatan water reservoir were built and put into use by stages.

  Only after ten years it was obvious that water transferred to Baku from Khachmaz and Jeyranbatan didn’t meet requirements of population and industry. The development of the industry and the flow of population to Baku made it necessary to bulid a new water pipeline to Absheron peninsula. After researches of specialists the construction project of cleaning devices on the bank of Kur river and of a pipeline from here to Baku was approved. The construction of the pipeline was realized when Great Leader Heydar Aliyev was elected a leader to Party Organization of the Republic.  In 1969 the construction of cleaning devices near Kichik Talish village of Hacigabul district, as well as the construction of the pipeline was started. Only after one year in September 1970 the first shift of the first Kur water pipeline was put into use and in September 1971 the second shift.

Despite of it Baku and surrounding settlement’s requirement for drinkable water wasn’t met completely.  Taking it into account decision about the construction of the second Kur water pipeline was adopted. In 1980-1988 new transmission mains in 3 shifts was constructed to Baku.  So it was possible to supply newly settled Gunashli and Ahmadli residents with water.

  In 1991 after restoration of Azerbaijan independence the development of oil industry and direction of the profit got from oil export to other fields caused to rapid development of country economy. At the same time construction of multi-storied buildings in Baku and settlement of new habitations in the suburbs caused to the serious increase of population. In addition in 1988-89 more than 500 thousand refugees found shelter in Baku as Azerbaijanis living in Armenia were banished from their forefathers land and Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 surrounding regions occupied by Armenian army. Economical development and increase of population in the peninsula placed the issue to increase the volume of water transferred to Absheron on agenda.

   Discussion of transferring water to Baku from a new source was started and for the first time this issues was discussed in the conference in 2002 under President Heydar Aliyev’s chairmanship. Great Leader noted that we have to transfer qualitative spring water to Baku and for this purpose he charged to explore the underground water in Oghuz-Qabala. Specialists immediately began to explore water sources of this zone, their composition and territory from where the pipeline will pass in future. After preparation of feasibility study and  project in September 2005 in the conference held under President Ilham Aliyev’s chairmanship and devoted to development of water supply of Great Baku different parameters of the project was discussed and it was decided to start as soon as possible. After that, choice of consulting and contractor companies was carried out. Consulting company approved the use of GRP pipes in the construction of pipeline. In March 2007 foundation ceremony was held.  Water pipeline in length of 262.5 km, with a diameter of 2000 mm and with gravity flow was installed from Oghuz up to Baku. In parallel 78 exploitation wells in Oghuz region were drilled and tested. All activities financed by the State Oil Fund. Official opening ceremony was held in December 28, 2010 and the first water was delivered to Baku residents. Pipeline with project capacity of 5 cubic meters per second will give opportunity to 75 percent of capital residents to get water uninterruptedly. 

Another project will be launched in 2011 to provide sustainable and quality drinking water supply to the Absheron peninsula. On September 8, 2011, with the participation of President Ilham Aliyev, the foundation of the ultra-filtration water treatment plant with a capacity of 6.6 cubic meters per day or 570,000 cubic meters per day is laid in the Jeyranbatan water supply office. The complex, commissioned on 28 October 2015, plays an important role in providing high quality and durable drinking water for both the city of Baku and the Absheron peninsula.


The history of sewerage system of Baku

   The history of sewerage system in Baku starts at the beginning of the XX century. The first steps on construction of sewerage system of Baku was took into discussion at the end of the XIX century and preparing the design was reflected in the agreement was signed between City Duma and English engineer William Lindley. Although the agreement was signed at the end of the XIX century, Lindley just began works on projecting the sewerage system in 1911 in his bureau in Frankfurt. This project was kept in Germany in accordance with World War I and it was impossible to bring it Baku. William Lindley prepared the second variant of this project, but sudden death does not allow him to complete the project.

   Sewerage system was become urgent problem again after Soviet Government established. A sewerage bureau was established in 1923 under the command of Baku Soviet and the Head "Sewerage system of Baku project" was started to be prepared based on the manuscripts and materials of W.Lindley. Construction works on the project started in 1924 based on “Separated Sewerage System” design of well-known engineer Mark Losifovich Atlas and the first organized sewerage system of Baku was constructed in 1930. During the period transmission collectors of the city “Ozuakhimli”, “Apariji”, “A”, “B”, as well as Sewerage Pumping Stations No 1 and 2 (already have been liquidated) Zig Treatment Plants were constructed. Professor of Polytechnic Institute Iosif Gavrilovich Yesman took part in designing of these facilities.

    “Great Sanitation” project of Baku was prepared in 1972 after 40 years taking into account the perspective population development until 2000 and in a very short time construction work began. During this time Hovsan Aeration Station, Sewerage Pumping Stations No 1, 2, 3 and 4, “Sanaye zonasi”, “Shaharkanari Tunel” and “Sahil” tunnel collectors were constructed and put into operation. As a result of this 85 % of wastewater of Baku is transmitted to Water Treatment Plant and after treatment transmitted to the sea. But because of financial collapse works on “Great Sewerage” project ceased unfinished in 1991. Reconstruction projects of sewerage network of the capital started just in 2006-2007. “Project of reconstruction and ensuring of Hovsan Treatment Plant Stations, Zig Pumping Station No 2 and Basic Conductor Sewerage collectors” was the hugest project that undertaken on these works. Carried out works is financed in amount 35 million Euros allocated by the Government of France and 44,9 million manats allocated by Azerbaijan. As a result of these works the capacity of the Hovsan Treatment Plants was increased from 480 m3/day to 640 m3/day.