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Imported Water Saves Cyprus from Drought

Aug 17, 2008
Cyprus, an island paradise, has been hit a bad drought this summer. In fact, the drought is the worst the island has seen in a hundred years. Cyprus relies on rainfall to replenish its water supply, and its reservoirs are only seven percent full, according to recent estimates. Emergency drilling has been used to tap underground water supplies, but even that is not enough to stave off the thirst of the island's inhabitants.

Main water pipelines in Cyprus have only been turned on a few nights each week. Anyone living in a high-rise apartment is out of luck, since the water pressure isn't enough to bring water to the top stories of tall buildings. Residents of Cyprus have also been banned from washing their cars and watering their gardens, since this is an excess that the country currently can't support.

Enter Greece. The neighbourly nation recently sent an emergency tanker full of drinking water to Cyprus. The tanker holds 40,000 cubic meters of water, which is more than double the amount held in Cyprus' reservoirs. The ship anchored off the southern coast of the island.

Enter a problem. The pipe built to take the water from the Greek ship to Cyprus was too short, and by the time the pipe was ready, the water wasn't fit for human consumption, and will now be used for agriculture alone.

But a second shipment was fine, and it has been replenishing locals with much needed fresh water. Eight million cubic meters of refreshing water will be delivered to the island in the coming months.

Before the shipment of water, emergency household rationing was put in place to conserve water, and plans for desalinization units are underway. It was feared that the thriving tourist industry would be devastated by the drought, especially since the rationing wasn't put in effect until March. The drought began late in 2007.

Barcelona was also hit with a recent drought and had to import water by ship, but not on this scale. The cost of the imported water is staggering, and many experts warn that bringing in water by ship isn't the answer to the country's water problems.

Plans are underway to build larger drilling facilities, capable of searching for ground water eight hundred meters below the surface of the earth. This is double the current depth achievable by the island's drilling units. A third desalinization plant is being constructed to assist the original two plants. Even this may not be enough to prevent future droughts.

Cyprus has long been known as an excellent destination for tourists. Its golf courses are renowned around the globe, and its beaches are legendary. The island sits between three continents, which gives it a unique and varied history. Its culture is filled with art, traditional folk music and great literature. The great poem of antiquity,
"The Cypria," was written in Cyprus sometime around the seventh century BC.

While the drought is only a temporary problem for Cyprus, the residents are calling on their government to ensure that it doesn't occur again. Another drought like this could cause residents of Cyprus to flee for wetter countries. This happened some eighteen hundred years ago when Cyprus went without proper rainfall for twenty years, and the islanders had to move before returning to their island homes.

With Greek help, the disaster has been held off for a little while longer, but in a tiny country so reliant upon rainfall, it's only a matter of time before the problem rears its head again.
About the Author
For holiday information about Cyprus including flight times from the UK, Germany and other Cyprus flights information visit yourcyprus.info

Other information includes a Cyprus map
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