Cyprus Mail

Engineers warn of Kouris contamination from residential zoning

The reversal of a 2008 decision which converted the area surrounding the Kouris dam from a protected to a residential area is essential for the preservation of water quality, the Cyprus scientific and technical chamber (Etek) warned on Thursday.

Etek called on the ministers of interior and agriculture to correct the political decision taken in February 2008, which upgraded the areas surrounding the Kouris dam from protected to residential, despite the area’s particular environmental value and opposition from the water development department.

“Kouris dam is by far the largest water reservoir in Cyprus, which is enriched with water from multiple basins and supplies almost all of Cyprus. It is the most important dam in Cyprus, on which 80 per cent of the population depends, and in the case of contamination or degradation of its water quality, the public health impact will affect every Cypriot,” Etek said.

The process by which town planning zones in the area were modified, as well as the chain of responsibility for technocratic and political decision-making, are undoubtedly issues that should be examined, Etek said, “especially if one takes into account the concentration of real estate in the area.”

“If the zoning upgrade is not revoked, no matter how many preventive measures are taken, anthropogenic pollution will not be able to be eliminated, as rainfall will transfer surface run-offs along with all the pollutants that will be washed off from the streets, houses, drains, directly into the dam,” Etek warned.

Should the situation remain unchanged in light of personal interests, disregarding the interests of the public, Etek said, those involved in decision-making should be prepared to take responsibility.

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