New Paphos Desalination Plant Covers 20 Communities
The new Paphos desalination plant inaugurated today will cover the needs of more than 20 communities in the area, said President Demetris Christofias at the ceremony.
It has a capacity of 30,000 cubic metres per day and makes the Paphos area independent of the uncertainties of yearly rainfall, he said.
"The completion of the plant is a decisive step twards a final solution to our water problem," said Christofias.
In 2008, Cyprus was forced to import water from Greece to the tune of 60 million euros after Limassol completely ran out of water amid a drought. Repeating this in the future would be an economic disaster and a serious setback to the quality of life for Cypriots, said the president.
"Water is the most important natural resource and most valuable social asset for human survival and economic development," he said.
By 2050 the world population will reach nine billion and water demand will increase by 64 billion cubic metres annually, he said. Today, 40 percent of the world's inhabitants have no access to clean water and 6000 children die daily from lack of water in developing countries, according to UNICEF.
In Cyprus, an already-acute water shortage problem will be made worse by climate change. It is considered to be the second biggest problem at the national level, said Christofias.
In addition to 107 dams, large and small, around the country, the government is also constructing two more plants in Episkopi and Vassiliko in Limassol. They will be ready by the beginning of next year.
Currently, the dams are at 62.6 percent of total capacity, holding 182 million cubic metres of water, said the president.
Although criticised as being energy intensive, desalination plants - which separate salt from seawater - have been welcomed as an alternative to rainfall, which has become increasingly erratic in recent decades.