The Municipality of Tirana Water Supplier (UKT) is set to be sued in what is considered as Albania’s first class-action lawsuit.
The local water distribution company has come under fire in the last few months due to serious water shortages across Tirana. Citizens have reported going weeks without water, and many others stating that they only have running water for a few hours each day.
Serious ongoing water shortages have been reported in Blloku, Myslym Shyri, Dajt, Ali Demi, Komuna e Parisit, Misto Mame, Vasil Shanto,.Selite, and Selvia,
When asked about water shortages, UKT denied that there was a widespread issue and said it is just impacting a few areas. This has been widely debunked however by several reports in the media, citing citizens who have been impacted.
“There is really no talk of water shortages, but of partial restrictions on localized facilities that are positioned in networks supplied through pumping stations, more precisely some mansions in Yzberish and Astir” said a UKT spokesperson.
The class-action lawsuit organised by civil society group Nisma Thurje, the news was announced by lawyer Dorian Matlija. In a Facebook video he stated that “Tirana has no water, but even when it does, it is not drinkable.”
He goes on to say how a number of water analyses were conducted around the city and that out of 60, only three were drinkable. Furthermore he suggests that the parameters used by UKT to designate safe drinking water, actually left people drinking water that could be a source of diseases.
According to Matlija, a collective lawsuit, or class action suit has never been attempted in Albania before. But now they will file one against UKT, demanding three things.
Firstly, they want the court to compel UKT to conduct thorough water analyses and to regularly inform citizens of water quality, these tests must be carried out in formal and accredited laboratories, according to Matlija. Finally, citizens who have been provided with unfit water by UKT should be reimbursed and those who are provided with unfit water in the future should not be made to pay for it.
The lawyer states that a “few dozen” citizens have already joined the lawsuit, but he calls for more to do so.