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Fish threatened by low water levels in Mavrokolymbos reservoir

Mavrokolymbos reservoir is only 13.7 per cent full

DESPERATELY low water levels at Mavrokolymbos reservoir in Paphos have led the Green party to raise the alarm and appeal to the water development and fisheries departments to step in and save fish and turtles who are in danger of dying.

Andreas Evlavis, Green party secretary for Paphos, said that the party had been alerted by an urgent SOS from residents and members rushed to the reservoir.

“We were contacted and informed that the water in the reservoir is almost finished. There is very little in there and it is dangerous for the aquatic life. Water is being given to nearby banana plantations and agriculture and it must stop.”

Turtle found by fishermen at the reservoir (Michalis Mountis)
Turtle found by fishermen at the reservoir (Michalis Mountis)

Calling it a tragedy, Evlavis said the Greens immediately contacted the water board to raise the alarm and were pleasantly surprised at their speedy response which was received on Monday.

”They have replied to our complaint and confirmed that they have stopped giving water to agriculture at present, and if necessary the fish and turtles will be transported to Aspro Kremmos dam.”

He added that the water department admitted that the reservoir is only at 13.7 per cent capacity compared to 63 per cent for the same time period last year.

Markers show just how low the water levels are (Green party)
Markers show just how low the water levels are (Green party)

Michalis Mountis lives just 500m from the reservoir and initially raised his concerns with the Green party.

“I live close by and the water level has been drastically dropping over a few weeks. This is because water is given to the banana plantations and other agriculture,” he said. “People are allowed to go fishing here and so the fisheries department added many fish a couple of years ago which have now grown. They are in danger as the water level is so low.”

A green fresh water turtle which was recently accidently caught by some of Mountis’ fishermen friends was carefully and immediately returned to the dam, he said.

“This is how we know they are there,” he added.

Mountis said that he hoped the rainy season would soon start so that the water level would rise, but in the meantime no more water supply should leave the reservoir.

“The authorities clean the dam every five to ten years and completely drain the water out, to get rid of all of the mud on the bottom, but I don’t think that they will be able to do that now as it will disturb the turtles.”

Evlavis pointed to another negative finding from the reservoir’s low water levels. “They have also revealed how much rubbish has unfortunately found its way into the dam.”

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