Gov’t seeking to solve isles’ water shortages

This year 9 million euros will go to transporting water (in the Dodecanese), and buying water (in the Cyclades) in order to deal with shortages in the Aegean. Once again, public monies will be spent on piecemeal measures that do not constitute proper management of a public commodity which thoughtless policies and slipshod measures (chiefly inappropriate drilling) have squandered. Though more than 330 water supply studies have been conducted, many islands have no water at all. Nine islands in the Cyclades (Amorgos, Koufonissia, Schoinousa, Folegandros, Tinos, Sikinos, Thirasia, Donousa and Milos) and 11 in the Dodecanese (Agathonisi, Leipsoi, Megisti, Nisyros, Patmos, Symi, Halki, part of Kalymnos, Pserimos, Levitha and Leros) have their water delivered. Aegean and Island Policy Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis has announced steps to rationalize the transport of water and pinpoint water resources. He asked the Agriculture Ministry for a full inventory of all the old reservoirs and dams in the Aegean so that they can, where possible, be rebuilt and put to use for water supply and irrigation. The Aegean Ministry is opening a dialogue with local government representatives and private firms to construct desalination plants that will be 55 percent subsidized. The ministry will also be cooperating directly with local government authorities to create a body that will undertake the construction and maintenance of the desalination plants. Uneven shortages Water shortages do not affect all islands equally. Symi and Patmos are the most arid, for instance, whereas Kythnos does have water sources but it has drained them dry and no longer has any potable water. Kythnos Mayor Giorgos Martinos claims that if the Aegean Ministry provided the sum of 500,000 euros, it would allow for work to improve the island’s two springs and promote the processing of the water with minerals to make it potable. Meanwhile, attempts are being made to construct a desalination plant costing 1.1 million euros to treat water coming from 15 separate bores on the island. According to ministry data, there are nine desalination plants in the Cyclades and two in the Dodecanese. Most of the units in the Cyclades face the problem of high operational and maintenance costs (electrical power, chemicals, replacement parts) and also of aging (as in the plant at Ermoupoli, Syros).

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