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Water on Cyprus is rationed March 26, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus News, Nature.
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Authorities on the island of Cyprus announced Monday that they were immediately reducing the water supply to people’s homes to cope with a “dramatic” drought that has left dams nearly empty.

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said supply cuts of 30 percent were a “necessary measure” in light of a 17-million-cubic-meter (600-million-cubic-feet) shortfall in water reserves. The island needs 66.7 million cubic meters (2.35 billion cubic feet) a year to cover its needs.

“We’ve initiated a number of measures to tackle the truly dramatic situation we’re facing,” Stefanou told reporters. Stefanou said the government would reduce by almost a third the supply to local water boards that distribute water to homes. The cuts will take effect at once. Other measures include the construction of pipelines to feed local reservoirs with water that will be shipped from Greece in tankers five months from now.

Authorities also plan to double the daily output from a desalination plant now being built, to 40,000 cubic meters (1.4 million cubic feet) by October. Cyprus already has two operating desalination plants with a combined daily output of 92,000 cubic meters (3.2 million cubic feet) and the government will look into using more portable units.

Stefanou said officials will bore more into the island’s water table. A water conservation campaign will also be stepped up.

Meanwhile, officials will draw up a long-term strategy to help the island effectively deal with chronic shortages caused by its heavy dependence on rainfall. Capacity at the island’s dams now stands at just over 10 percent, 2.5 times less than their capacity at this time last year. Compounding the lack of rain are record-setting temperatures for March that reached Monday to 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 Fahrenheit).

Saving water begins at home March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment.
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To mark World Water Day today, homeowners in Greece have been encouraged to fix leaky faucets and toilet cisterns as they may be doubling each family’s water consumption.

The Director of the Athens Water Company’s (EYDAP) network, Stefanos Georgiadis, said that a leaky faucet could cause some 400 liters of water to be wasted every day when the consumption of the average Greek household is between 350 and 400 liters per day.

«A rise in water consumption is a sign of better living, so we do not want to reduce consumption to the detriment of the quality of life,» said Georgiadis. «The easiest way for us to reduce consumption is to stop all the leaks in each house.»

Georgiadis said that more accurate billing would also help to reduce consumption. He said that EYDAP only bills for 80 percent of the water that is used and that the remaining 20 percent is either not recorded by water meters or is lost through leaks.

EYDAP also sounded a word of warning about water levels ahead of the summer. «At the moment, the water reserves will suffice but we need to be careful,» said the water company’s President, Costas Kostoulas. «If the next year turns out to be as dry as the last one, then we will have to adopt emergency measures.»

Meanwhile, the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry revealed at a conference last night that it has begun a study of pollution in Thessaloniki’s Thermaic Gulf. So far scientists have established that there are at least five main sources by which the Thermaic Gulf is polluted, including rivers that empty into the sea. The readings indicate a high concentration of heavy metals, especially lead and chromium, in some areas. High levels of phosphorus and ammonia were also recorded.

Polluting the little water we have March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment.
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Scientists say the uneven distribution of supply and the dumping of toxins are problems, not sufficiency

Half the country’s population and half its industries are concentrated in and around Athens and Thessaloniki but problems of water quality and quantity are by no means restricted to those areas.

Many other parts of the country are faced with drought and pollution and the story is much the same everywhere, nitrates from fertilizers used in farming, urban waste water channeled into cesspits, wells, rivers and lakes, the salination of underground water reserves in coastal areas and a fall in the level of the water table from over-drilling. The national water management and protection plan recently drafted by the National Technical University of Athens, Water Resources Department for the Environment and Public Works Ministry drew attention, among other things, to the lack of sufficient water measurements, both qualitative and quantitative, so the data available to experts is sparse and fragmented.

Yet the scientists who drafted the plan are fairly optimistic, not to say over-optimistic. They claim that Greece does not have a problem of water sufficiency, but of distribution.

In other words, northern and western areas of Greece have a surplus, eastern and southern areas a shortage. Most industries in Attica illegally dispose of their wastewater into the drainage network, the Kifissos River and other water courses. The Ano Liosia landfill site is also a source of water pollution, as is the disposal of urban wastewater in cesspits. Any agriculture still existing in the region also affects the ground water. Generally the deterioration of ground water means that it cannot be used to supply homes, and potential reserves are not enough even to meet irrigation needs.

In northern Greece, there are the same problems of nitrate pollution and excessive reliance on lake water. Western and Central Macedonia are believed to have sufficient supplies of water; any pollution is attributed to urban wastewater, farming and livestock breeding. Eastern Macedonia is considered to have abundant supplies of water; pollution is from nitrates used in farming.

In Thrace, there is a marginal sufficiency that depends to a great extent on Bulgaria, which manages the waters of the Nestos and Evros rivers. The eastern Peloponnese does not have sufficient water and the problem is getting worse. Eastern central Greece is facing similar problems, particularly in the summer. Western central Greece and Epirus have the most water in the country, and Crete too is still self-sufficient.

Greek scheme to save water is unveiled March 5, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment, Nature.
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Greece has drawn up a plan to manage its dwindling water resources in a bid to ensure that no area or island in the country is left without access to water in the future.

Public Works and Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias yesterday presented the plan, which contains several controversial elements that include the insistence on the diversion of the Acheloos River and the construction of at least 20 hydroelectric dams.

The plan to divert the Acheloos from western Greece to Thessaly in central Greece to provide water for farmers has already been blocked five times by the Council of State and is opposed by residents in the west of the country. But Souflias says that Greece will need to learn to live with these kinds of projects.

“We have to understand that diversions of water in Greece are unavoidable because in some areas water is readily available and in others there is a large demand for it,” said the Minister.

The water management plan is based on research done by the National Technical University of Athens, which recorded the state of Greece’s water resources.

Greece lags on wastewater October 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment.
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The European Court of Justice is to rule this week on how to punish Greece for repeatedly violating directives on wastewater management.

Greece’s main transgression is its failure to provide 24 small towns, including many tourist resorts, with adequate waste-processing units, an obligation it has faced as an EU state since 2000. In a ruling due on Thursday, the court is expected to issue a strong warning that could lead to a heavy fine.

The affected areas include much of eastern Attica, a large section of Thessaloniki, the Cretan port of Iraklion, Nafpaktos, Igoumenitsa and Tripolis. In parts of eastern Attica, such as Koropi and the Thriasio Plain, near Elefsina, residents reportedly have taken it upon themselves to dispose of water from their washing machines and tanks into street drains.

According to the Environment and Public Works Ministry, Greece has 160 waste-processing units, dozens of which are believed to be non-operational due to poor design. Another 50 such units are under construction, the Ministry says. Another problem is the absence of any monitoring organization to check that existing units are operating properly. “The real question is whether processing units are operating and how well,” said Andreas Andreadakis, the Director of the National Technical University of Athens’s sanitary technology laboratory.

Meanwhile, as precious water resources dwindle, Greece is under pressure to recycle used water, including that produced by waste-processing units. At present, most water processed in such units is subsequently dumped, mostly into the sea and in rivers, while other European countries are increasingly reusing their “dirty” water in irrigation and industry.

Israel has implemented measures that, it claims, will lead to recycled water being used for 100 percent of all irrigation and industrial purposes by 2025. Germany and France have also made significant progress in this area. Greece, however, continues to squander 84 percent of its clean water on irrigation and has failed to undertake any major initiatives to recycle its used water.