Study exposes water wastage

Greece has one of the world’s most inefficient systems for managing dwindling water resources, with the irrigation of the agricultural sector largely to blame for waste, according to a report by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), a nonprofit research group. The report highlights the absence of a comprehensive water management system which means that supplies cannot always satisfy demand. The agricultural sector is responsible for the consumption of 86 percent of water resources, the report notes. An extract reads, «The types of cultivation and current water pricing policy both boost the consumption of water used in irrigation for agriculture.» The report also notes that inefficient methods of irrigation are to blame for the loss of a large volume of water. Between 60 percent and 70 percent of water used in irrigation never reaches its final destination, according to the report. IOBE proposes various amendments to current practices. The first is the drafting of a comprehensive water management strategy, in line with European Union directives. IOBE also recommends that water be priced on the basis of the volume that is consumed rather than the number of hectares destined for irrigation. Another proposal is that the granting of European Union subsidies be linked to the implementation of environmentally friendly farming practices. The report further recommends the introduction of alternative methods of water management on hundreds of islands and in tourist resorts where consumption of water skyrockets during the summer months.

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