Irrigation cuts vital for water

A 10 percent reduction in the volume of water used for irrigation in Greece would provide enough water to supply another country of the same size, experts say. Water shortages in Greece are chiefly due to wasteful agricultural practices but also citizens’ excessive consumption, according to Ioannis Mylopoulos, professor of hydraulics and environmental technology at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University. «In Greece, irrigation accounts for 85 percent of water consumption,» Mylopoulos told Kathimerini. He suggested that Greece follow the example of Cyprus and implement new technologies that save up to 60 percent of water lost during the irrigation process. «A reduction of as little as 10 percent would be enough for us to supply water for another 10 million Greeks,» he said. The use of water in industry is also wasteful with studies showing that just a quarter of firms in Thessaloniki recycle the water they use, Mylopoulos said. But the increasing consumption of water by Greek citizens is also draining resources. Attica residents consume around 1.4 million cubic meters a day, as compared to 1.2 million cubic meters per day last year. Changes in our daily lives are to blame, such as a more intense hygiene regime, Mylopoulos said. A sharp increase in tourism, and the extra water consumed by visitors, has also exacerbated the problem. «How can an island with a population of 2,000 in winter accommodate 25,000 people in summer?» Mylopoulos said. The desalination of water, often suggested as a solution, is expensive and non-energy efficient, he said.

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