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Pollution from upstream sources

Three are the main problems related to the environmental condition of surface waters: 


Insufficient water quantity

The significant drivers and pressures that are connected to water quantity are.

  • Droughts and climate change: Water scarcity is exacerbated by large inter-annual variations that can result in two, or even three, consecutive years of drought with rainfall below 300mm. During the last 30 years a considerable reduction of mean annual rainfall has been experienced in the island (approx. 20%) resulting in a 45% reduction of runoff.
  • Uneven distribution of rainfall: The variation of rainfall is not only regional but also annual. Average annual rainfall is 500 mm but varies from 300 mm in the central plains and the SE parts of the island to 1100 mm in the Troodos mountains nad 550 mm in the Kyrenia mountains
  • Conflicts between urban and agricultural use: Competing demand and the dynamic competitive tension between agriculture, urban growth including tourism, and the environment are challenging the existing water management practices in the island. The subsidized water price for irrigation water compared to the full cost recovery for domestic supply does not promote healthy competition and water conservation measures.
  • Increased water demand for irrigation and tourism during summer: There is a pronounced seasonality of demand peaking in the summer period due to increased irrigation requirements and influx of tourists. Certain tourist destination areas experience considerable stress in meeting the water demand. Tourism affects the demand for water and sewerage infrastructure. 93% of beds are concentrated along the coast. Tourist water demand accounts for 21% of total domestic, municipal and industrial water demand.
  • Inter-basin water transfer: The built water infrastructure involves extensive inter-basin transfers in the south – south-eastern part of the island (the South Conveyor Project - SCP) and in the southwest to western part of the island (Pafos Irrigation Project) allowing considerable flexibility in the water management in most areas of the island.
  • Illegal drilling and over-pumping: The present level of abstraction for all Cyprus is estimated to be 130 hm³/year, whilst the total recommended abstraction is estimated top be approx. 80 hm³/year. As a result during the last decade almost all the groundwater bodies, except the river bedded coastal water bodies are being overexploited
  • Non-effective exploitation of many water development schemes:  The need to achieve a sufficiently high internal rate of return to have a sound project to finance, was accomplished by including new lands for irrigation, creating thus a water demand that did not exist at the initial stage of the project design.
  • Excessive use of fresh water for irrigation due to the reluctance in use of tertiary treated water: Recycled wastewater acceptance for irrigation is far from certain yet, especially when there is alternative water available: early acceptance by the farmers to use tertiary treated effluent (because of the drought period) subsided in the last few years because of the availability of fresh water from the dams.