Reservoirs are less full than last year despite frequent rain over the past week, with total reserves standing at 67.2 per cent compared with 75.9 per cent this time last year, the water development department said.

Between 75 and 80 per cent is considered ‘comfortable’.

According to their data the flow into the reservoirs in the last 24 hours was only 381,000 cubic metres, which is considered particularly low for the rainy days of winter.

“The last rains offered us almost nothing in relation to what we expect from winter rains and they barely managed to cover consumption,” senior technical engineer at the water department, Marios Hadjicostis told CNA.

Total flow into reservoirs since the beginning of October reached 18.5 million cubic metres. Hadjicostis said this was particularly low “if you consider that we had the same flow in just one three-day period last year in January”.

“We started very well with the October and November rains, but it is now turning into a bad year,” he said.

The island’s largest dam at Kouris, is at 63 per cent compared with 69 per cent at the same time last year. The Asprokremmos dam is 78.3 per cent full compared with 93.1 per cent last year, while the Evretos dam is at 69 per cent of capacity compared with 76 per cent last year.

The total amount of water in the dams is 195.4 million cubic metres compared to 220.7 million in the corresponding period last year.

Asked whether the situation was likely to improve, Hadjicostis unless there is more rain this month and next month, from March onwards, it would be very rare to see an increased flow. He also said that even from the gradual melting of snow, very little of it ends up in the dams.

Hadjicostis said that despite the drop of inflow, the situation was not yet desperate.

He said that with the exception of 2020-21, all years from 2019 onwards had been good years in terms of rainfall.

For the year 2021-2022 the total inflow amounted to 153,753 million cubic metres, while for the year 2020-2021 the total inflow was limited to 36 million. However, two particularly good years had preceded that meaning there was a good stock of water in the dams.

“Our rates are still good. We would just prefer if it were at 75 per cent or 80 per cent to be more comfortable,” Hadjicostis said.

In any case, there would be no problem with the supply from desalination and too early yet to say if irrigation water from the reservoirs would need to be restricted.

If winter 2023-2024 continues the same way, however, things would be much worse, he said.