Pupils learn how to save water

Greece risks water shortages if it continues to waste supplies. Though experts have warned that rainfall will diminish in the Mediterranean basin due to global climate changes, few measures have been taken to manage water resources properly. While official figures estimate that some 20 percent of the water supply is lost due to obsolete mains, dozens of areas are forced to purchase drinking water. At least 20 islands already have serious water shortages. Meanwhile, overexploitation of water by farms and thousands of illegal bores also contribute to a rapid deterioration of water resources. Yet most Greeks take water for granted. Mediterranean Network SOS hopes to change that attitude through a pilot educational project it has started at schools in Elefsina, Aghios Dimitrios and Petroupolis in cooperation with local municipalities, and which it hopes to extend to other areas. Around 1,000 pupils aged 9-12 will participate in the project, which includes activities to raise their awareness and the application of mild, low-cost techniques and of saving water in schools. The schools will install taps that do not drip and cisterns that save water, while municipal authorities will check the mains for leaks. In addition to presentations for pupils, there will be training sessions for teachers on saving water in schools. «The aim is to show that with simple methods we can reduce waste by at least 20 percent,» SOS President Nikos Chryssogelos told the press Monday. «We hope that with the formation and experience they gain, the pupils will be able to teach their elders.» Elefsina is an area that has experienced the consequences of poor water management. As Elefsina Mayor Giorgos Abatzoglou noted, unrestrained industrial development caused the loss of huge amounts of fresh water and the pollution of the sea and the water table. «Even now, three streams that cross the Thriassio plain still overflow their banks sometimes. By means of minor interventions, that water could be saved,» Abatzoglou said.