The decades of no rain and drought Cyprus has been through in the past led the Water Development Department (WDD) to create the necessary infrastructure to be able to deal “with confidence” future water shortages, said director of WDD, Panayiota Hadjigeorgiou.

Asked about the current levels of dams, Hadjigeorgiou told CNA that from the beginning of the hydrological year, on October 1, 2021, until August 2022, the inflow of water into the reservoirs dams amounted to 153.74 million cubic metres of water. This ranks the current year as “the third best of the decade”.

She added that the current amount of water stored stands at 224.635 million cubic metres, which means that they are around 77.2 per cent full, up from 59.4 per cent in the previous year. The amount of water stored and the alternative water sources that Cyprus has for drinking water (through desalination) and for irrigation (using recycled water) reserves can last up to two years, she added.

Compared to other European countries experiencing unprecedented drought conditions – for which they are not ready, as they do not have the systems developed by Cyprus – the WDD director says she feels confident that the country can face such issues successfully.

Asked if the strategic plan, developed by the WDD and approved in 2019 by the cabinet, includes interruptions in the supply of water in the event of extreme drought, Hadjigeorgiou replied that no such thing is envisaged, although she emphasised the need to strengthen water consciousness to save water and limit unnecessary use.

Reiterating that the government’s policy after the 2008 crisis, when water had to be transferred from Greece, is to meet 100 per cent of drinking water needs.