Over the last few weeks it’s rained a lot in Cyprus!
The good news is the island’s dams are filling and next summer should see a reduced need for water usage controls making life much easier for everybody in Cyprus.
Having now lived through the shortages, with a bit of common sense and economical use of water, there isn’t a major problem.
All houses have a water tank on the roof, usually holding hundreds of litres of water.
Sure if six people all have full baths, the tank will probably be emptied. So think before you turn the tap on, and there isn’t a problem. The only way we notice the water has been turned off is through a reduction in pressure. So it takes a few moments longer to fill the kettle.
The recent heavy rainfall has added ten million cubic metres of water into the island’s reservoirs during January 2009, up almost four-fold over the 2.6 million in January 2008.
The Water Development Department are delighted with the rainfall. In one 24-hour period 3.2 million cubic metres flowed into the island’s dams, increasing their capacity from 23.5 million cubic metres to 26.7 million cubic metres.
The dam that registered the largest water inflow was Paphos’ Asprokremmos Dam with 1,327 million cubic metres, followed by Arminou Dam with 533,000 cubic metres and the Kouris Dam with 384,000 cubic metres.
The result is that already the water level in the dams is approaching the highest they reached in 2008. The peak in 2008 was 28.9 million cubic metres – 10% of the dam’s capacity. If rainfall continues at the current rate, 2009 will start out from a much better position.
The Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Michalis Polinikis has said he feels more optimism for 2009 but stresses all consumers should continue with economy measures as the water shortage remains a very serious issue.
The Ministry’s strategy remains to achieve complete independence from rainfall as a source of water. However time is required until all the planned desalination plants are completed and then there will be a period of building reserves before the current situation returns completely to normal.
As a stopgap measure to offset the effects of the severe drought that has hit the island, Cyprus has bought eight million cubic meters of water from Greece. Tankers are transporting the water and the whole process is expected to be completed in March.