September 2008 – Cyprus’ dams remain almost dry at just 4.5% of their total capacity and the water shortage remains an issue for the island.
It’s been a difficult summer for much of Cyprus as water shortages have forced rationing in most of the island except Paphos Region.
Despite water flowing – on and off – from Greek tankers, the island’s dams remain bone dry.
The situation has been compounded by upgrades to the island’s desalination plants running late – though more capacity is now coming on stream.
A regime of on-the-spot fines for water wasters seems to have failed to raise awareness of the island’s dwindling water resources. An awareness campaign launched to combat water waste and incentives introduced for conservation purposes such as recycling methods has yet to produce results.
The current level of water capacity is a meagre 4.5% compared to 14.4% at the same time last year. This translates into just 12.42 million cubic metres of water from a total capacity of 273.6 million cubic metres.
Five dams – including the island’s biggest at Kouris – are all below the 1% watermark due to an acute lack of rainfall. The reservoirs with the most water are Xyliatou and Kalopanayiotis at just over 27% full.
A dry spell stretching between October 2007 and June 2008 has seen the smallest inflow into the dams for over a decade. Cumulative area average precipitation during October 2007 to August 2008 is 50% beneath the average.
Cyprus is still desperately short of water even though household rationing has been under way for some months and emergency water is being supplied from Greece at a cost of millions of euros.
During August the average air temperature was 2°C above the norm while precipitation was well below the average. The most extreme weather was endured between August 22-30 when the heat was combined with a high humidity count.
Only prolonged heavy rain during the winter months can help relieve the island’s chronic shortage, as the water from Greece is only half of what is needed to fill the shortfall.
As part of a longer-term solution the government is building more desalination plants and bolstered output from the two existing ones. Another measure is to tap new boreholes for water.
What’s your view? Have the water shortages been a problem for you?