NEWS

Zakynthos working on water use policies

One consortium participant, Zakynthos, is encountering serious problems with brackish underground water due to uncontrolled drilling. «The island has extremely high rainfall figures,» said Elisavet Maroti, the TEDK development counselor for Zakynthos. «If, then, water management policies were formulated and collection policies developed, we could turn around this depressing situation. However, the basic problem here is the way people live; the community has lost its collective memory.» In an attempt to spur citizens into action on water management, Maroti says her office collected relevant verses from Kalvos and Solomos and recorded synopses of all the torrents, floods, lakes, springs and wells on the island, as well as a history of the aqueduct. «We hope this material will provide some magic to create policies which will have results in the future, so the programs will be realized,» she said. The programs within the Interreg framework have much to offer. For example, in 2003 the consortium introduced programs to support small and medium-sized businesses which produce local products. In 2004, it offered programs for managing seaside development. As a result of the 2003 initiative, several businesses have been able to market their products – kumquats from Corfu, herbs and thyme honey from Cephalonia, wine from Zakynthos, and olive oil and tomatoes from Messinia. The consortium is currently examining whether this initiative could also be incorporated into the local economy. The 2004 initiative tackles development in the seaside zone. In Greece, seaside areas fill with people and activity during the high-season, but are often dead the rest of the year. In general, all of Europe is abandoning its mountainous regions and crowding into its seaside areas. The situation creates economic, land-planning and environmental problems. The question, then, is how a country should go about balancing development in seaside areas. Interreg takes on a wide range of programs that consider both the area’s environment and culture. It takes on programs for education, professional development, nurturing of small and medium-sized businesses, quality and security of food, nanotechnology, biotechnology in health services and many other projects.