Lost water to be costly

Households will be charged more for wasting water under a presidential decree that is being prepared by the government aimed at cleaning up and preserving the country’s water resources. The soon-to-be adopted law, seen by Kathimerini, encompasses European Union directives. Brussels threatened Athens with legal action in 2005 for breaching environmental laws. «By 2010 pricing policies need to offer the necessary incentives to consumers to use water resources more carefully,» a draft copy of the decree said. Brussels is also threatening to take Greece to court over the quality of its drinking water. The EU contends that more than 18,000 people in various parts of Greece are being forced to drink water that is contaminated with toxic substances. According to tests carried out by the Health Ministry, drinking water in 18 municipalities, mainly in central Macedonia, has been found to contain traces of nitrate, ammonia and arsenic. The decree will introduce changes such as a more accurate system of measuring the water users consume. Additionally, regional authorities will be required to monitor water quality in their district and will also be instructed on how to test the water appropriately. The law will place most of the responsibility regarding water management, protection and replacement upon the shoulders of regional officials. The expected changes will help provide a more complete legislative framework for water management after partial changes were introduced in 2003. Apart from concerns over the quality of water, Greece will likely face water shortages unless its supply is properly managed. According to experts, changing temperatures and an increasing lack of water are two of the key difficulties Greece must contend with in the near future. Sources said that the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, gave the green light to the presidential decree draft a few days ago regarding any possible legal hitches.

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