Relief ready for parched islands

Greek scientists have discovered a way of solving the problem of water scarcity on Aegean islands – with the world’s first floating desalination platform. A pilot of the mobile unit, which uses a wind generator to transform seawater into potable water, is to undergo a demonstration at the Elefsina shipyards on Monday, according to experts from the University of the Aegean who created it. «It is the first towable, anchorable desalination unit in the world,» Nikitas Nikitakos, a professor of marine technology involved in the project, told Kathimerini. «The platform, which is autonomous and does not need to be linked to the power grid, produces 80 cubic meters of drinking water per day from 240 cubic meters of seawater,» Nikitakos said. The unit, which is anchored to land in a windy part of the island, transfers the potable water it produces into the island via pipes, according to Nikitas. «If it needs to be moved to another part of the island, it can be easily towed there,» he added. The platform does not need to be staffed as all its operational aspects, as well as the quality of the water, are reportedly monitored via the Internet. The pilot unit cost 2.8 million euros to create but subsequent replicas can be produced for less than 700,000 euros apiece, according to Nikitas. The units are destined for islands in the Cyclades and Dodecanese, such as Santorini, Folegandros, Kimolos, Amorgos, Koufonissia, Tinos and Nisyros, which have experienced severe water shortages over the past few years. The increased consumption of water on these islands, which skyrockets during the tourist season, have caused resources to dwindle. The problem fueled a spate of illegal drilling by local businessmen which has further exhausted water resources.