THERE was record inflow of water into the island’s dams over the 24-hours to Friday morning, according to statistics from the water development department.
A total of 1.7 million tonnes of water flowed into the dams, more than triple the 500,000 tonnes recorded in the previous 24 hours, which was again more than double Wednesday’s 200,000 tonnes.
Kouris, the island’s largest dam which is capable of holding just under half of Cyprus’ collected water, had an inflow of 586,000 tonnes, more than double the previous day’s, and Asprogremos took in 223,000 tonnes. Yermasoyia dam received 150,000 tonnes, while the little dam at Kalopanayiotis overflowed having reached its capacity of 363,000 tonnes.
The island’s dams now hold around 58 million tonnes of water, which is 19.9 percent of their total capacity of 290 million. This time last year, dams were almost 36 percent full.
In mid-October, the water levels in reservoirs were dangerously close to those experienced during the 2008 drought, and another dry winter would only increase Cyprus’ reliance on costly, environmentally unfriendly desalination plants.
The worryingly low water levels had led to accusations that the state’s water policy is too short sighted in the light of long-term low rainfall.
According to critics, not enough has been done to develop sustainable water policies such as water recycling plants or the discouraging of farmers from growing water-hungry crops, with far too much water being lost due to the old, leaky pipe network.
The water department was also accused of allowing farmers to use costly desalinated water for irrigating their crops, when they are only supposed to use water supplied from wells or the reservoirs. Officials deny this, but acknowledged the need to push ahead with building recycled water plants to be used for irrigation purposes.