Past planning in areas affected by flooding over the weekend had not taken into account city sprawl, Green Party MP Charalambos Theopemptou said on Tuesday.
However, proven sustainable drainage systems exist, Theopemptou said, such as channeling run-off into deep retention ponds to reduce the flow of storm water thus preventing urban flooding.
Storm water is valuable, the head of the Green party argued, before it becomes contaminated by oils and other road pollutants, and run-off should not in fact be allowed into the sea.
Speaking on CyBC radio, Theopemptou also pointed out that the sealing of ground with concrete, such as happens with large parking lots, hinders the absorption capacity of the land, and lots should therefore be designed in smarter ways, with this fact in mind.
Although attempts have been made to record and catalogue high risk areas and the natural path of the island’s waterways, such as riverbeds, outlets, and basins, nonetheless, potential buyers are not informed of these as it would cause a fall in property value, and the catalogue only records critical points of natural course ways outside built-up areas, which is problematic, the green MP said.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Famagusta District Officer Giorgios Chrysaphinis reported 11 cases of damage to primary residences, and 10 to holiday homes.
Chrysaphinis said primary residences were the government’s first priority and final decisions on state compensation in the aftermath of the weekend’s severe weather events were likely to be made next week following evaluation of all damages on Wednesday, including those in Larnaca.
Damage was sustained by five residences in Paralimni and six in Ayia Napa, and concerned mainly flooded basements and fencing, the district officer detailed. There were no cases of damage preventing residents from continuing to inhabit their properties, Chrysaphinis said, although greater damages may have been sustained in uninhabited holiday homes yet to be thoroughly inspected by their owners.
A few businesses and shops also registered damage, and four hotels to-date have reported basement flooding, mainly on the Kapparis to Protaras stretch, as well as in the area of the third Paralimni primary school.
The district officer re-iterated that problem areas were well-known and assessed as recurring in three to four spots, and acknowledged that past planning and pressure from tourism had resulted in some inadequate provisions, now requiring additional design features and management.