By Lizzy Ioannidou
Despite the heavy rainfall and the increased inflow of water into the island’s reservoirs, water stocks are at lower levels compared with the corresponding period last year, but are expected to rise in the coming months.
Around 550,000 cubic metres of water flowed into reservoirs during the weekend. Since December 1 this year, a total water inflow of 2.4 million cubic metres was recorded, first technical engineer at the Water Department, Fedros Rousis told CNA on Monday.
Though December this year has brought higher quantities into reservoirs compared with last year, Rousis said, water levels are well below total capacity at only 11.8 per cent with total stocks of 34.3 million cubic metres.
During the corresponding period last year, only 881,000 cubic metres of water entered reservoirs, Rousis said, but water stocks were 1.5 per cent higher, with 38.7 million cubic metres of reserves, constituting 13.3 per cent capacity.
Last year’s inflow of water into the island’s reservoirs were described by the Water Department as the second worst in a decade.
“Inflow and stock of water are two different things,” Rousis told the Cyprus Mail, “as the factors of capacity prior to the rain season, as well as the rate of consumption, are also at play.”
Water inflow is expected to continue until April, Rousis added, noting that the met office’s data which show that 70 per cent of December this year will been marked by rain, indicate that “this year’s stocks will very likely surpass last year’s, despite the current period’s lower levels compared with last year.”
Usually, he said, the highest levels of rainfall in Cyprus are recorded in January and February.
The deputy director of the Water Department, Nicolas Christofides, told media last week that water inflow levels remain low despite recent heavy rainfall, since dams are located at higher altitudes where rainfall was traditionally heavier, but climate change has brought increased rainfall to lowland areas, leading to high quantities of water not being stored.
“This was only true for the last three days which saw heavy rainfall in coastal and inland regions,” Rousis said, “but it does not mean that this will always happen.”
Rivers are on the mountains, and we can’t build dams on the coast, Rousis said. “In fact, dams are exactly where they should be.”