By Angelos Anastasiou
DESPITE severe drought in Cyprus no water cuts are anticipated for 2014, Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said yesterday.
Cyprus has entered a period of abnormally low rainfall and is at risk of water shortage, but the ministry’s water development department (WDD) said there is no cause for concern this year at least.
“We have unfortunately entered an extended drought period, but we remain hopeful that no significant supply issues will come up in 2014,” Kouyialis said.
“There will be no cuts to the domestic water supply”, he added.
Water supplied for irrigation is a different matter, as irrigation is estimated to be responsible for over two-thirds of water consumption. Higher consumption means higher susceptibility to rationing needs, but Kouyialis was again reassuring.
“With regard to water supplied for irrigation purposes, a problem may arise for those receiving water from the Southern Conveyor. We have decided to allocate the same quantities as the period from 2009 to 2012, which the WDD considers satisfactory for irrigation,” Kouyialis said.
Cyprus had faced acute water shortages due to persistent droughts in 2008, as a result of which the government had to impose extended water cuts and import water from Greece to alleviate the problem.
Following public outcry, the government decided to resume its policy of desalinating water. Three desalination plants are now operational in Cyprus, with total production capability of 160.000 cubic metres of water daily.
“If this drought persists, the situation will get more difficult from 2015 onwards,” Kouyialis said.
“The ministry and the WDD aim to import more recycled water because the greatest challenges are expected in irrigation – that is, water required for farming purposes.”
“And since the stated government policy is to support the agriculture industry, if a problem comes up in this sector, we must support it,” he concluded.