The recycled water lakes of the Larnaca sewerage board located in Meneou have been transformed into a wetland where every year thousands of migratory birds find refuge, manager of the Larnaca wastewater treatment plant Ioanna Ioannidou said on Thursday.

“The artificial recycled water storage ponds were constructed in 1996 as part of the construction of the Larnaca wastewater treatment plant located in Meneou and have a capacity of one million litres. Recycled water comes from the biological treatment of urban wastewater in Larnaca and some communities,” she said.

The distribution of the water is handled by the water development department, she explained.

“The water is used by the farmers of the area, by the Larnaca municipality for the irrigation of gardens and green spaces and for the irrigation of lawns of football fields.”

The total amount of recycled water is about 2 million cubic meters annually, which is important, as the water is always available, even in the summer and in times of drought, she added.

“The two artificial lakes have been transformed into a unique wetland, which supports many species of aquatic birds and is an attraction for many bird watchers from around the world.”

“This is an area which at first glance does not catch your eye, because it is not a forest or a salt lake, but it is full of birds of different species. The lakes are a point of attraction for the birds because they are always full of water, winter and summer, while due to its origin, the water has many nutrients, it is an incredibly productive system and always provides food for the birds,” added Director of BirdLife Cyprus Martin Hellicar.

The artificial lakes are located in the Natura 2000 protected area of the salt lakes which are wetlands of global importance, he noted.

“The forestry department has set up a bird observatory in the area and the public can visit and enjoy the thousands of birds in the lakes, without disturbing them. The artificial lakes are truly a bird paradise.”

According to the NGO’s director, there are more than one hundred species of birds in the lakes including flamingos, various species of ducks spending the winter, gulls, herons, pelicans, spur-winged lapwings and cormorants.