Oslo’s need for a new source of drinking water is turning out to be so costly that budgets are spilling over once again. Phase One is already costing NOK 5.2 billion more than budgeted and now Phase Two has spung a NOK 7 billion leak as well.
That’s more than three times the initial budget but city politicians in charge don’t want to call it a budget overrun. Initial cost estimates were made at a “very early point” in the planning process, insists Sirin Stav of the Greens Party, and they’ve simply gone up since as the massive project gets underway.
It involves sending water through tunnels from the Holsfjord west of Oslo to the capital’s Huseby area, where it will be sent farther in tunnels to Sagene and then elsewhere in the city. The project is long overdue, with health and security experts demanding it for years on the grounds Oslo’s existing water source from a large lake north of the city is vulnerable and inadequate for a growing population.
The estimated total costs of the project now stand at NOK 27 billion (USD 3 billion) and several city politicans fear they’ll rise higher. Oslo residents face much higher water and sewage bills in the years ahead, with the project expected to be completed in 2028.