Government pulls the plug on Acheloos River diversion

Government pulls the plug on Acheloos River diversion

A controversial project aimed at diverting Greece’s second-longest river, the Acheloos, from western Greece to the heavily farmed Plain of Thessaly, will not go ahead, Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis announced on Wednesday, more than five years after continued legal action by environmentalists effectively stalled the works.

“The diversion is a mistake whichever way you look at it, environmental or financial,” Skourletis said during a visit to Thessaly. “Also, it has been repeatedly overturned by the Council of Europe,” he said, adding however that the Acheloos project was also “the reason that there have been no serious water projects in Thessaly over the past few years.”

The dam at the nearby Mesolongi lagoon will serve a hydroelectric power station, he said, noting that the government has asked the Public Power Corporation to draft environmental studies for the dam’s operation.

Launched more than 20 years ago, the Acheloos project has been overturned five times by the Council of State and has cost the state some 600 million euros.

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