A plan to overhaul Greece’s urban drainage networks and bring them up to European minimum standards was unveiled on Wednesday by Interior Minister Panos Skourletis, Environment Minister Sokratis Famelos, Alternate Economy Minister Alexis Haritsis and the head of the country’s Union of Municipalities and Communities (KEDE), Giorgos Patoulis.
The scheme, which is to be implemented through 2020, has been drafted by the government following pressure by European Union officials.
The need for action is acute as more than half of small towns in Greece lack adequately functioning drainage, the ministers told a press conference in Athens on Wednesday.
Of 385 towns with between 2,000 and 15,000 residents, only the drainage systems of 148 meet the minimum standard stipulated by European Union regulations, they added.
A total of 169 towns have been earmarked for EU structural funding for drainage works. Work has already begun in 92 of them – in some cases it has not been completed due to delays caused by land expropriations and archaeological excavations.
In total, 916 million euros in state and EU funding has been set aside for upgrading drainage systems across the country where necessary, Haritsis said.