The Cyprus Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment Michalis Polinikis said that the Cyprus government is planning to buy water from a floating desalination platform, to be installed off the southern coastal town of Limassol. Polinikis, briefing the Agriculture House Committee, said that as things stand at present in the summer Cyprus, without imposing any water supply restrictions, will have a deficit of 80.000 to 90.000 cubic metres of water per day.

Polinikis has also warned that if no solutions to the water shortage are given, the water supply to households now in place will have to be limited even further, by 36 to 38%.

Polinikis said that if existing procedures for tenders for a floating desalination unit are followed, this will be ready to supply water in 2010, and because of this, the government believes that it should go ahead with direct negotiations with interested parties, through a specially set up committee for this effect, to provide much needed water.

The head of the Water Development Department Sofoklis Aletraris said that presently there are 3,58 cubic metres of water in all the reservoirs, compared to 6,10 in 2008.

“Water needs for Cyprus, except Pafos, in 2007 were 212.000 cubic metres and we expect a 5 per cent increase,” Aletraris said, noting also that there are still 3 million cubic metres of water to be imported from Greece, a process expected to be completed by the end of March 2009.

Aletraris said that following a government invitation for interest in a floating desalination unit, there are now three companies short-listed for the project.

Cyprus is faced with severe drought; rainfall in the past 2 to 3 years has been very limited. In 2008, the Cyprus government has imposed restrictions in the supply of water to households but essential services such as hospitals are spared.