In this issue:

The Cyprus INECO and Nostrum-DSS Joint Event: IWRM through coordination, dissemination and exploitation of research outcomes

Egypt: Meeting local residents in Basandeila

Syria: Discussing with authorities on the pollution of the Barada River

Lebanon: Unveiling conflicts & perceptions on water stress in the Damour River Basin

Cyprus: Citizen proposals for the protection of the Pegeia Aquifer

The 2nd semester Deliverables of INECO

Future project events

The INECO Consortium

The INECO Cyprus Stakeholder Workshop
Citizen proposals for the protection of the Pegeia Aquifer in Cyprus

The Pegeia Aquifer: A locally important resource

The Pegeia aquifer is situated west of the town of Pafos. It is a phreatic semi-confined coastal aquifer, developed in a karstified reef limestone. For a number of years now, the Pegeia aquifer has been subjected to intensive overpumping. Although the aquifer is not yet subject to dramatic seawater intrusion, degradation in water quality due to excessive pumping has already been observed in some locations.

Considering the rapid increase of water withdrawals (annual extracted volumes increased from 0.3 hm³ in 1990 to 0.8 hm³ in 1995 and to 1.3 hm³ in 2000), the water authorities took measures to decrease extraction rates, by forcing local farmers to use surface water.

As a result,  total extraction in 2005 was reduced to approximately 1.1 hm³. Of this amount, 1 hm³ corresponds to domestic water supply for the Pegeia Community and the adjoining tourist areas, and about 0.1 hm³ for irrigation.

However, the continuing rapid expansion of the tourism sector, and the increasing urbanisation of the region have resulted in a significant increase of the demand for potable water. At present, during the high demand season, 0.8% of consumers (hotels mostly) uses almost 25% of the total freshwater used in the region.

The location of the Pegeia Aquifer

Citizen proposals through the INECO Cyprus Stakeholder Workshop

In the above context, INECO organized the Cyprus workshop in the area of Pegeia, on October 26th and 27th 2007. In total, 48 persons attended the workshop, including local residents and representatives of citizen movements (16), representatives of the local and governmental authorities (10) and INECO project partners (22).

During the two-day discussions, the status of the Pegeia aquifer was discussed in great detail, and authorities responded to the comments and questions of citizen associations of the region. Identified issues included:

  • Groundwater quality, in terms of sea-water intrusion, impact of agricultural practices and problems arising from the lack of a sewerage system.
  • The carrying capacity of the region, in terms of water supply, as it is considered that existing and foreseen building permits and tourism development exceed the capacity to provide water in Pegeia and are bound to result in the depletion of the aquifer.
  • The seasonal variation in water use, especially in the hotels of the region, which has major impacts on the exploitation of the aquifer.
  • The lack of information on water-related issues, and the lack of a "water culture" among local residents.

Suggestions made by citizens and authorities towards sustainable exploitation of the aquifer concerned:

  • The implementation of small sewage treatment units for every house or group of houses. The recycled water can be used for irrigation of open spaces and gardens.
  • The control over the use of fertilizers and other chemicals in agriculture.
  • The need to address the potentially significant losses in the water distribution system and water over-consumption, especially during the summer period.
  • The reduction of the significant amount of potable water abstracted from the aquifer which is used in hotel units, possibly through the adoption of small-scale desalination for meeting tourist demand.
  • The need for optimization in the monitoring of the water table and groundwater salinity evolution. 

More information...