|Until 1997, the only source of water resources in Cyprus was rainfall. In accordance with a long series of observations, the average annual rainfall, including snowfall is 503 millimeters while from 2000 to date, it is reduced to 463 millimeters. The quantity of water corresponding to the total surface area of the free area of Cyprus amounts to 2750 million cubic metres but only 10% or 275 million cubic metres are offered for exploitation given that the remaining 90% approximately, returns to the atmosphere as direct evaporation and transpiration. |
Rainfall is geographically unevenly allocated with the maximum being at the two mountain areas and the minimum at the eastern plain land and coastal areas. In addition, there is also a great inter-annual variation of rainfall with frequent continuous droughts lasting from two to up to four years.
|The average annual quantity of 275 MCM of water is allocated broadly 1:3 as regards surface storage and ground water respectively. Around 1/3 of the ground storage flows to the sea.|
Being an insular country, the ground and surface water bodies in Cyprus exclusively depend on rainfall within its territory. However, the reduction of rainfall and surface run offs in the last decades resulted in the reduction of the enrichment of ground water bodies and the reduction of inflows to the dams. At the same time, demand for water has increased, as a result of the social and economic development, the increase of tourism and permanent residents.
To address the shortage of water, two unconventional sources of water are now part of the water balance: desalination of sea water and the re-use of waste water following tertiary treatment.
Desalinized water is used to fulfill the requirements for water supply (drinking water). Recycled water is used for the irrigation of agricultural cultivations and green areas, with the enforcement of restrictions regarding the proper agricultural practice pertaining to the use of recycled water