Cyprus dams have taken in significant quantities of water in the last two weeks after the highly unexpected and heavy rainfall.
Water Board official Fedros Rousis said that dams around the island took in some 1.2 million cubic metres of water in May.
“This is a significant quantity in a short period of time. It is much needed as this year was on its way to becoming one of the worst for rainfall since 1987.”
Rousis added that since October dams have taken in €10.8 million cubic metres of water with dam levels having now reached a respectable 45.5% capacity – it was 85.9% at the same time in 2013.
This winter has been one of the driest on record. Meanwhile, former commissioner for the environment Charalambos Theopemptou said that the government would be wise to seek alternative water supply methods to counter costly desalination.
According to Theopemptou, the state spends tens of millions each year on desalinating sea water – a cost which will increase significantly whenever the island experiences a drought.
“Our water supply methods are based on a costly system and this is very concerning.”
Theopemtou added that the construction of artificial lakes in other countries have shown to be cost effective and sustainable sources of water.
“Through this method it would be possible to reduce our water intake by around 80%,” said Theopemptou, explaining that much of recent rainfall went to waste after falling in the sea.
Asked if artificial lakes could be feasibly constructed in Cyprus, Theopemptou said the technology exists but there is no political will.
“Unfortunately our country is resistant to change, our public is ready but our politicians our not.”
Minister of Agriculture Nicos Kouyialis confirmed in May that Cyprus’ desalination units were put into operation earlier this year than previous years due the lack of rainfall. The desalination cost this year will therefore be around €8 million higher than the funds allocated in the government’s 2014 budge for water supply.