Drought-stricken Cyprus to begin importing water, impose water cuts

Other News Materials 24 March 2008 20:56 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- The drought-stricken eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus is to begin importing badly needed water from neighbouring Greece and impose water cuts in order to deal with a severe water shortage.

The island's reservoirs have reached dangerously low levels and its two desalination plants are unable to keep up with industry and household demand.

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said the government would immediately apply emergency measures which include cutting water supply to district distribution networks by 30 per cent and would begin importing water from Greece within the next few months.

Cyprus, which is heavily reliant on rainfall for water supplies, is suffering one of the worst droughts and water shortages of the past 100 years.

The Mediterranean island's 109 reservoirs are only 9 per cent full and Cyprus' largest dam, the Kouri , is expected to run dry in the next few months, according to the most recent data.

According to official statistics, rainfall in Cyprus has dropped by about 20 per cent over the past 35 years.

Across the island, water is being pumped out of the earth at an unsustainable pace, mainly by farmers who have had to deal with four consecutive years of water cuts by authorities.

Temperatures in the last few days were higher than normal for this time of year, reaching 34 degrees Celsius and the island was covered in thick red dusk which has blown in from northern Africa.