NEWS

Most water wells dug, ready to irrigate greenery

Most (90 percent) of the bores needed to water the greenery for the Olympic projects are ready. As Environment, Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou announced several months ago, the 20,830 cubic meters of water that are needed will not come from the EYDAP water utility but from bores drilled by IGME, existing bores in municipalities and the Ilissos River, as well as other sources, such as the Iridanos River. EYDAP’s administration made it clear from the outset that it was not able to provide irrigation water, since its priority is to provide drinkable water for the Olympic installations and to ensure normal water supply to the rest of the grid at a time of peak demand. So IGME was assigned the task of completing a hydrogeological survey of parts of the Attica basin. Four months later, IGME geologist Philippos Harmanidis, head of the drilling program for the 2004 works, has announced, «The survey is going well, and the works are being delivered in record time, with very good results.» So far, IGME has delivered three bores at the Olympic Stadium (1,880 cubic meters per day), five shallow bores at Hellenikon (900 cu.m./day), one at the weightlifting venue in Selepitsari (120 cu.m./day), two at Koropi (88 cu.m./day) and one at Goudi (150 cu.m./day). In September they will deliver 3-5 shallow bores in Moschato and Kallithea for the works refurbishing the seafront, which will yield 1,800 cu.m./day. There is also provision for another bore at Goudi, if necessary, and a study is ready for 2-3 bores in Korydallos, if needed. Not everything went smoothly for IGME’s task, however. Harmanidis says there was a problem of illegal drilling, which impedes legal drilling and depletes water sources, while excessive tapping of water often causes the sea to penetrate rocks and the water table. «At the Olympic Stadium we had to go down to 250 meters, when we had allowed for 150,» says Harmanidis, «because illegal bores in the area go down to 300 meters and don’t permit water to be taken from higher up. At Koropi, the water had gone in 10 kilometers due to deep bores drilled by private individuals. Drilling has to be done with care and in moderation. You shouldn’t take what water you need from bores but what they can give you.» Olympic Village not gone to pot In February, IOC Coordination Commission President Denis Oswald, who is in charge of overseeing preparation for the 2004 Games in Athens, expressed concern about delays in the greenery projects for the Olympic Village, because seedlings need time to grow. But the study for greenery at the village, which Olympic Village 2004 SA assigned to a consortium of six offices a few months ago, has not been completed. So the announcement of seedling supplies has been delayed, and there was a cost-cutting proposal to buy smaller, cheaper seedlings. This has brought the budget down from 10 million to 5 million euros, but it is unlikely that the seedlings will manage to grow into trees by 2004. At one point there were rumors about tree donors, who would become sponsors for the Olympics by offering trees. All that is certain is that any irrigation needs for greenery at the Olympic Village will be met by water from bore wells drilled as part of the the overall contract for the project. Choosing plants that suit the site The plants to be used in the landscape design of the Olympic projects were carefully chosen, according to YPEHODE. The criteria were their historic presence in Attica, environmental value, aesthetics, improvement of the microclimate, protection of the existing vegetation, and the ability of Greek nurseries to find and produce them. To maintain biodiversity and to lessen the cost of maintenance later on, the plants were selected in accordance with the environment where they are to be planted. In outer suburban areas, planting will aim at complete adaptation to the climatic and soil conditions of the Attic landscape. Seafront flora will be resistant to coastal conditions (salt and sea breezes). In deltas and the estuaries of streams, aquatic vegetation will be replenished. And wide-leaved evergreens, deciduous trees that can be pruned, bushes and mossy perennials will be planted along roadsides.