Greece wasting energy, water

Greece is doing nothing to promote energy-saving techniques and continues to be too dependent on oil while squandering dwindling water resources, experts warned yesterday. The government is encouraging wastefulness «with its policy of cheap electricity, cheap gasoline and cheap cars,» the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage told a seminar in Athens. Households account for 27 percent of energy consumption and the service sector for 10 percent. The transport sector accounts for 33 percent, significantly above the European Union average of 25 percent. The number of cars on Greek roads has doubled during the past decade, it was revealed. Greece is equally irresponsible in the handling of its water resources, with the agricultural sector guilty of being the most wasteful. «Despite having experienced several water shortages and in spite of signs of desertification in many regions, we act as if we have a surfeit of water resources,» Agricultural University of Athens Professor Panayiotis Nektarios told a press conference in Athens. The agricultural sector is responsible for absorbing 82.5 percent of domestic water, households for 10 percent and industry for 7.5 percent. The Thessaly Plain is a veritable «black hole,» drinking up 25 percent of water consumed in farming, Nektarios said. He proposed the use of modern irrigation systems that avert water wastage. The use of recycled wastewater or desalinated water are other alternatives.