Since 1960, the Republic of Cyprus has invested a lot in the creation of water works to exploit surface water so as to handle water shortages and droughts and secure that the water requirements for various uses are fulfilled.
Climatic changes and the reduction of rainfall in the area of Cyprus in the last 50 years, has significantly reduced surface run offs. At the same time, water requirements have significantly reduced as a result of the financial and social development, the increase of the population (permanent residents and seasonal workers), the increase of tourism and the upgrade of agricultural activity. The whole situation led the State to construct several significant water works, in order to retain and store river water and convey the necessary quantities to benefited areas for water supply purposes and also for irrigation. This concerns dams, water conveyance projects (conveyors, pumping stations etc), drinking water treatment plants, irrigation networks, enrichment works, tertiary waste water treatment plants, recycled water distribution networks etc.
The large water development works operate in accordance with the Integrated Water Management Law, as Government Water Works (GWW) mainly under the responsibility of the Water Development Department. Moreover, within the framework of the construction of development projects in the countryside, in the period 1975-1990 small local irrigation networks and water reservoirs have been constructed, which operate under the responsibility of local irrigation committees (Irrigation divisions).
At the end of the 90s, to handle the increasing requirements and the reduction of inflow of water to the dams, the Government started to use desalinised water, by securing the necessary quantities on the basis of agreements/ contracts. Sometime later, water produced by the tertiary waste water treatment plants started to be re-used. Recycled water is now an important, reliable source of irrigation water for Cyprus, which is dynamically part of the water balance, fulfilling an important percentage of the requirements.
It is important to mention that together with the construction of GWW and the inclusion of unconventional water sources in the water balance, important measures for the management of demand and the effective use and saving of water have also been promoted and implemented. Some important examples are the use of improved irrigation systems in agriculture (with a high-performance index), the measurement of consumption and volumetric pricing, pricing using increasing scales in water supply, public awareness about the need to save water, annual allocation to the various uses on the basis of available quantities etc.
Nowadays, Government Water Works are the major source of water for drinking and also, an important source of water for irrigation. From these, water is channelled for drinking in most Local Water Supply authorities which allocate it to consumers in their areas. It is estimated that around 80% of drinking water requirements throughout Cyprus is fulfilled by GWW. Also, water is distributed from government irrigation networks for irrigation to plots of land that are part of the benefited areas designed in accordance with legislation.
The Government Water Works are the following: