Islands rationing scarce water

Just over a week after the government declared a state of emergency on the Cycladic Islands to solve the water crisis in the Aegean, officials have told Kathimerini that they are rationing the use of water by islanders. The head of the local authority on the small island of Folegandros, Eleftherios Venios, said that the island is being supplied with less water than it needs, forcing officials to restrict supplies to residents and visitors. «We are doing what we can so it does not affect our tourism but I do not know how long we can hold out,» he said. «They are bringing us 3,000 cubic meters of water a week but we need 5,000 cubic meters.» Many of the islands still rely on special ships delivering water to them every week. «The problem will be worse next year. We need to find a permanent solution,» said Venios. The Cyclades Islands received 24 million euros to improve water supplies earlier this year. But water tanks and desalination plants have yet to be constructed. «The island has some underground water reserves but we rely on the water tankers,» said the head of the local authority on Sikinos. «It would be good to have a desalination plant because as things stand we have to fret over whether the ship will arrive on time.» Authorities on Syros are also planning to build a desalination center as they said they would just about meet their water demands for this summer. Santorini is also suffering a lack of water, which is exacerbated by its volcanic structure, which means that rainwater mixes with seawater in underground reserves. «The problem is in the quality, not the quantity,» said Thera Mayor Angelos Roussos.