Cyprus Mail

Three years and €30m later Paphos desalination unit being dismantled

A MOBILE desalination unit in Kouklia in Paphos, that cost €30m is being disassembled after hardly being used over the past three years, it emerged on Friday.

The decision to install a mobile desalination unit by the Xeros River in Kouklia was taken in 2008 when the island was experiencing extended drought and water was brought in from Greece with tankers to meet demand.

According to daily Politis, the mobile desalination unit was installed in 2010 and it was almost never used as Paphos’ water needs were met by supply from the Asprokremmos dam. The contract signed with the private company which owned the unit, provided that the government would buy water at €1.21 per cubic metre. It was also agreed that the company would be compensated for the time the unit was inactive. The unit operated only for a short period of time when maintenance work was carried out at the Asprokremmos dam, meaning that the unit remained mostly inactive since.

For the last year there had been thoughts whether to buy the unit but it was deemed to be not cost-efficient.

Commenting on the fact that the government spent €30m, acting head of the water development department Andreas Manoli told the Cyprus Mail that it was not deemed wise to buy the water from the desalination plant since they could use the water from the Asprokremmos dam at a cheaper cost.

He added that according to the contract the government signed with a private company from Greece, which set up the desalination unit, it would be disassembled and removed with no added cost to the government.

“At that time, when the decision was taken to bring the desalination unit, we were in a state of panic. We were on the verge of being left without any water. Limassol only got water every ten days,” Manoli said. “We had already spent around €50m to bring water from Greece.”

He said that there were thoughts of constructing a permanent desalination unit in Paphos, but that decision is to be taken in April.

It is estimated that Paphos’ water needs for the next two years could be met by the water in its reservoirs, Asprokerommos and Kannaviou.

“The decision will depend on the water levels. At the moment Paphos’ reservoirs have reached 60 per cent of capacity, whereas the southern pipeline reservoirs are only 25per cent full,” Manoli said. He said that traditionally there is more rainfall in Paphos.

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