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CYPRUS: Dry dams reach capacity after record rainfall

12 April, 2019

With the past winter recorded as the fourth best season as regards rainfall, and record inflows to the dams, water stocks at the bigger reservoirs could last Cyprus for about 2-3 years, a senior state official said Friday.


Phedros Roussis, a senior officer at the Water Development Department, said in an interview on CyBC radio that all small and medium-sized dams are full to capacity, with some overflowing, yet with rainfall starting to recede at the start of Spring, it is “highly unlikely, but not impossible” that the larger dams will fill up completely. It all depends if April and May have unexpected rains, he said.

Roussis said the smaller dams, that are already overflowing, usually have enough water to last a year, as surrounding communities rely on this supply mainly for agricultural purposes.

The flow from rains into the dams, at 235.6 million cubic metres from October 1 to this week, pushed current water levels to 259.4 mcm or 89.2% of total capacity, nearly four times the year-ago level of 23.6%, according to the latest WDD statistics.

Roussis said that the island’s biggest dam, Kouris, which at 115 mcm alone accounts for just over a third of national capacity, will probably not fill completely and spill over, as it needs about 17 mcm more of inflows, almost as much as the entire dams of Kalavasos or Kannaviou.

Commenting on listeners’ questions if the water dams are economically viable, considering that we also use desalination plants, Roussis said that this technology was not available in Cyprus when the dams were planned decades ago, budgeted and built.

“Nowadays, we would think twice about building new dams,” the WDD official said, even though each case and each area must be reviewed on its own merit.

He explained that even desalination units need to be shut down for maintenance or other faults linked to the national water supply network, in which case, dams remain critically important.