Diversion project for the Acheloos River

The plain of Thessaly, once the country’s breadbasket, is now dying of thirst, as the intensive monoculture of cotton and the waste of water resources, the abuse of fertilizers and other chemicals, as well as subsidies spent carelessly, have all brought about the pollution of the Pineios River, emptied ground water reserves and dried up springs. An ambitious project for the diversion of the Acheloos River was planned to provide water for the plain, but will only perpetuate the existing situation. The farmers are unaware – or pretend to be – that the water should be paid for, that at some point the subsidies will cease and that there is no future in cotton. Some people are aware, however – the scientists, the experts, and those who were approached by Kathimerini to provide answers to 10 questions about the problem. Then there are the politicians who are also aware, and who are in a position to make decisions. Over 25 years of conflict, promises, an outlay of 720 million euros, environmental and social problems and the diversion of the Acheloos has assumed legendary proportions. Perhaps it is time to take a reality check. Thessaly has a lot of cotton fields but not much water. Perhaps, before we bring in water from somewhere else, we should talk about the future of cotton.

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