Heavier rain, lower reserves

Rain but less water appears to be the future for water in Attica and Greece overall, according to the experts, as climate change and the concentration of human activities in urban centers have led to heavier rainfall and flooding due to a very large volume of water falling within a short period of time. According to the National Observatory, in Attica over the past 20 years rainfall levels have remained the same, an average 400 millimeters a year, apart from 2002 when it jumped to 900 mm. «But since 1980 we have had a considerable reduction in the number of days on which rain falls, meaning an increase in the volume on any given day that it does fall and, therefore, flooding,» said Panayiotis Nastos, a professor in Athens University’s climatology department. «That is because of climate change and the heat island effect in the city, which only creates heavier rainfall.» The situation in Greece is not as serious as in other Mediterranean countries and concerns management rather than availability, according to researcher Eleftheria Safiolea of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). Farming consumes 82-84 percent of available water supplies but almost half is wasted due to poor management. This also applies to towns, where about 20 percent is lost through leakage. Moreover, even though the population is more or less the same, demand has increased by 45 percent since 1980, Attica being the greatest drain on the general supply. Athens originally got its water from the Marathon Dam, but as this became insufficient the Yliki, Mornos and, more recently, the Evinos dams have been exploited. About 32-40 percent of clean drinking water ends up being flushed down the toilet. These findings were presented at a recent conference held by the Mediterranean SOS Network in cooperation with the NTUA.

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