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Cyprus

Police warn of traffic disruption from potential dam leak

Photo from Kitas weather website shows the affected area

The head of Kouklia community in Paphos appealed for calm on Saturday, as police warned motorists that a potential leak from a nearby private reservoir could affect traffic on the Limassol to Paphos motorway.

Michalakis Nicolaou told the Cyprus News Agency there was no cause for panic since there were no residential areas near the dam at Ha Potami and even if there was a breach, the water would just follow the river bed and fall into the sea.

Nicolaou defended the private company that built the earthfill dam, without permission at the time, to use it to water its golf course.

He said it was unacceptable to create problems for those who constructed the dam at a time when everyone said the country had no water.

Reports of a leak emerged last week, raising fears the water could affect the Limassol to Paphos motorway if it burst.

According to Green party MP Charalambos Theopemptou the dam was built without the necessary environmental studies and planning permits.

A planning permit was issued in 2006 on condition that the applicant would also secure permission to intervene on government land. In 2008, the cabinet rejected the company’s application for the permission. The Paphos district administration asked the company to demolish the dam by the end of May 2009.

Eventually, it was granted a permit in 2012.

“Today’s events are a continuation of the improper legitimisation of illegal facilities constructed without planning and studies,” Theopemptou said.

The dam in question was approved by town planning in an “unorthodox way” despite the strong disagreements of environmental groups.

Police said company workers were channeling water towards the golf course in a bid to lower the pressure on the damaged embankment.

The force however, did not rule out the possibility of problems to traffic if the dam collapsed.

 

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