Water-rationing idea floated

Less than half of Greece’s underground water reserves are safe to drink, local authority officials heard yesterday during a conference in Kalamata, at which a number of ideas to limit waste, including water rationing, were discussed. The Institute for Local Administration produced a study that suggests 47 percent of water in underground reserves is of «excellent or good quality.» Another 27 percent is of «variable» quality. The remaining 26 percent is not safe to drink. Speaking at the conference, the head of the Union of Prefectural Authorities of Greece (ENAE) highlighted that at current rates of water use, a number of areas of the country, including Attica, would soon be running dry. Among the proposals put forward for the better management of water resources was the idea to set a basic limit for water consumption for each household and to then impose financial penalties on any family using more than their fair share. It was suggested that the limit could be set according to the water resources in the area. So, families that live in parts of the country where there are decent reserves would be allowed to use something like the current average, which is 200 liters per day. Households in areas where there is a greater shortage of water would be set a lower limit, it was suggested at the conference. This system of rationing would need each local authority to have a precise figure of its water resources, which is not the case at the moment. A number of officials who spoke at the conference admitted that they did not have this kind of information at their disposal. The debate in Greece comes as Cypriot families face further cuts in their water supply due to the drought on the island. Nicosia Water Board director Nikos Zampakidis said that plans to start shipping water to Cyprus from Greece in late June would not be enough to solve the island’s problem. Cyprus began imposing restrictions in March after seeing its reservoir levels dwindle drastically.