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As Cyprus swelters in steaming summer temperatures of almost 40 degrees, there is good news from the Agriculture Minister, Michalis Polynikis, about the progress of the new desalination plants currently being built on the island. Speaking in Paphos, the Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment, confirmed that work on three new desalination plants was proceeding as scheduled and the first plant at Kouklia, near Paphos, in the south west of the island, will be completed by April 2010 and will also supply Pissouri.

The Athens-based Mesogios company started construction work on the plant in Kouklia in January and once completed, it should deliver some 20,000 cubic meters of water a day to the local area. The construction will cost €8.5 million and the Paphos Water Development Department will pay Mesogios €20 million for water over three years, while customers should pay around €1.65 per cubic meter for their supplies.

In the last decade or so, the Cyprus government has had to explore alternative water supply solutions on the island, as the requirements of major towns and tourist centers have steadily grown. The country’s first desalination plant opened in April 1997 in Dhekelia and was followed by one in Larnaca and then Limassol. These major plants have all been working overtime, which is why the Cyprus government decided to take further action.

The Agriculture Minister said that the government is carefully managing the island’s water reserves to avoid the problems of last summer when the dams virtually dried up. Limassol was totally dependent for its drinking water on supplies brought in by tankers from Greece. Now, however, the future is looking brighter and the Minister was happy to report that once the remaining desalination plants are completed over the next few years, Cyprus will no longer be dependent on rainfall for its water supply.

Author: Anne Hall

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