Barren and arid landscapes

On some islands local residents pray for the arrival of the ship bringing water from Lavrion. A typical example is the small island of Irakleia. The local community’s president, Fanis Gavalas, told Kathimerini that the village of Panayia, which has a spring, has sufficient supplies of water but the rest of the island suffers from shortages. «We depend on the water ship, but the owner of the ship, which also also serves the smaller Cyclades such as Sikinos, Folegandros and Kimolos, says he will come when our reserves are down to 1,000 cubic meters. But when they are down to that level, the ship still takes three to four days to come, by which time the supply has dried up completely,» he said. According to Gavalas, the community has asked for a reservoir to be built, but it was decided that the island should be served by the water ship. «We have problems,» said Gavalas. «Only major works can solve them.» Folegandros is experiencing another dry summer. «The supply from wells is not enough. The water ship comes in twice a week,» says the community president, Lefteris Venios. «For some years now we have been saying that this is no solution. For one thing, it is expensive for the State. As tourist numbers increase, we will soon need one ship a day. We need long-term planning.» According to Venios, even building dams is no solution. «You can’t solve a problem by depending on God’s help. Only a desalination plant would really help,» he said. Fortunately, Folegandros’s water supply network is relatively new, apart from just a few sections that need replacing. On the Dodecanese island of Kasos, winter flooding destroyed a large section of the underground network that had been damaged in 1994 and not replaced. Settlements are being supplied by surface pipes. «The island has a water supply, thanks to the wells drilled 20 years ago based on studies by hydrologist Pierre Montaigne,» Nikitas Vrettos, president of the municipal council, told Kathimerini. Tilos’s natural springs and its reservoir are enough to meet the island’s needs, while Anafi also is self-sufficient. Astypalaia, on the other hand, has a problem with water quality, due to the advanced age of the network.

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