About the Author

Avgi Lilli
Publications´ officer, Phd student at Kapodistrian University of Athens ()

I was born on a cold winter night 31 years ago. I have studied Classics (BA) and obtain an MA degree in Modern Greek Philology, comparative literature and myth in poetry in particular. My current PhD studies lie on polyphonic novel in postwar Greek literature. I have worked in a daily newspaper for 3 years (2001-2003). After that I have worked as a Greek teacher for all levels for 5 years. For the last 5 years I have been writing the travel column in a free press newspaper and I am currently working as a publications' officer in the House of Representatives, the parliament of the Republic of Cyprus. My hobbies are writing and reading, literature, art, music, cinema, swimming and cycling. I speak Greek, Bulgarian and English.

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How Cyprus comes out of the drought - Part 1

Published 05th February 2011 - 15 comments - 7487 views -

The water shortage problem in Cyprus was identified in time. Having in mind the small size of the island, we could say that it was also dealt in time, even when things were at the edge during the last period of shortage that ended in 2009.

The present storage capacity of the dams has reached 327,5 MCM of water from a 6 MCM in 1960, when Cyprus became an independent country and since we have official stats and numbers. During 1960-1974  many projects were carried out and many dams were constructed. After the Turkish invasion in 1974, significant projects were achieved, such as the construction of larger dams, sewerage schemes and desalination plans.  Cyprus is ranked first in the ICOLD (International Commission on Large Dams) register, in the area of Europe, with a ratio of fifty large dams for every 10 000 square kilometres. From the first one noted, the Kouklia dam, in 1900, one could count today more than 100 dams and ponds all over Cyprus, with another project, the Solea dam, in the Troodos mountain, on the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(An idyllic view of the Kouris dam)

Until 1997 the main source of water was rainfall, which was not always enough and was unevenly distributed geographically.  So, in times of extended periods of shortage of water measures were taken, mainly cutting off the water supply in certain hours of the day. As a child I remember this as something natural; not that we didn’t have water, but we should be very careful those days of the week.

So it was really weird, especially for younger people, when in 2007 the government was forced to turn to those measures once again, when all of the dams were almost and completely empty (at some point dams were less than 9% full) and were looking tragically deserted like the Kouris dam below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photos by Reuters)

That year one other solution was importing water form Greece, which caused a lot of arguments and criticism, since that was expensive and not that practical. Others looked up the sky; the Orthodox Church called for an all-night vigil on January 18, 2008!

With those measures and lots of luck, after the heavy rainfall of 2009 and 2010, the dams are now up to 50%. Cutting off the water supply is suspended, since Cyprus is looking up to desalination as the permanent solution of this problem. More on that soon.

Sources:

Cyprus Water Development Department:

http://www.moa.gov.cy/moa/wdd/Wdd.nsf/brhistory_en/brhistory_en?OpenDocument

Reuters:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/01/09/environment-cyprus-drought-dc-idUSL0941690220080110

The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/jan/22/water-climate-change


Category: Shortage | Tags:


Comments

  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 06th February 2011:

    I hope desalination will work…


  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 06th February 2011:

    Drought is a major problem even in some parts of the Philippines.


  • Avgi Lilli on 06th February 2011:

    We also hope that this will work and I think it probably will, although farmers have been protesting against it, because desalinated water’s main use will apply to fields. It took some time for the authorities and the government to convince them that this type of water will not harm the crop.
    I have heard this about the Philippines.


  • Avgi Lilli on 07th February 2011:

    Thank you Sarah!
    I have a couple of good friends that are engineers and maybe I should ask them! I believe that this is not impossible, maybe there have been already some clever engineers to work on something like that. However, I think that the million dollar question here is which government would “risk” and invest on something so expensive (I suppose) and so unbelievebably innovative.


  • Avgi Lilli on 08th February 2011:

    Well, all these are the reasons that the farmers argued about… I am not an engineer, but I am not sure if desalination is interfering with nature… It seems that a network of ponds, which is exactly how our dams/ponds are spread on the island, is not enough in times of severe drought, because at some point they just get empty. And what do you do then? Even if you do take cautions if it does not rain you cannot do anything about it.


  • Avgi Lilli on 08th February 2011:

    Sarah, I would never brag about my fair knowledge on physics but your suggestion seems quite logical and practical, even simple one could say. Maybe the tricky part is the material you are refering to. Which is that material that would stand against Cy´s heat (oh my God!) and not affecting in any way the water?
    Good brainstorming!

    Pabitra, if you have in mind a somehow underground ´´network´´, I am not sure if this is possible on the island, because a large part of the quantity of the underground resources goes in the sea.


  • Avgi Lilli on 08th February 2011:

    I should thank you both for the food for thought!! A promissing vision by Sarah, for this country that has so many issues unsolved and usually stays only on arguments and Pabitra’s real knowledge and tips! I never was good at Physics (hello, I studied literature!) but this seems possible. Unfortunately, all innovative technology costs and… will this ever stop being a problem?


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