Fresh water shortage issues are virtually normal now in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially in Cyprus, which has worse water shortage problems than Israel, Syria and Lebanon. The water shortage situation in Cyprus has gotten so bad that lakes are going dry (see photo).
As a result, a giant pipeline is being built to unite the island’s northern sector to Turkey as a partial solution.
Water shortages in the southern part of the Island, known as the Republic of Cyprus, will be partially alleviated by a deal with Israel’s Mekorot water company that resulted in the construction of a large desalination plant in the city of Limassol. The just inaugurated plant will be able to produce between 40,000 and 60,000 cubic meters of fresh water per day for residents of Limassol, the Cyprus Republic’s largest city.
“In a challenging reality, in which many countries are facing an existing or expected shortage of water, the solutions which Mekorot has to offer are of great importance,” said Mekorot CEO Shimon Ben-Hamo. He added that Israel is happy to be able to be help a country like Cyprus, which like Israel is “small in size, but big on vision.”
While the cost of desalination is not cheap, it has become one of the most popular methods used to produce fresh water for an island nation that already has four other desalination plants.
“The natural water resources are insufficient to cover the increasing water needs, thus, gradually we have adopted the policy of using non-conventional water resources to ensure independence from weather conditions and consequently adequate quantities of water for our country,” said Cypriot Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis.
Israel is a pioneer developer of fresh water conservation and production methods; including desalination and recycling of waste water; especially what is known as “grey water”.
While not the best environmental solution, desalination has often been called a “necessary evil” due to its high costs and potential environmental risks.
More articles on water issues in Cyprus and elsewhere in the region:
Photo of Cyprus Dry Lakebed by BBC/AP: