Cyprus Southern Conveyor Project

Year:1960

Duration:

Cost:$27m

Country: Cyprus

What did this project achieve?

Transfer water from one side of Cyprus to the other

The Southern Conveyor Project was actioned to collect surplus water from the south western part of Cyprus and deliver it to central and eastern areas. This meant building a 110km water carrier tunnel, a huge inland dam – the Kouris – another dam at Achna at the end of the conveyor, a network of pressurised irrigation outlets and a water treatment works.

It was the largest development project in Cyprus since the country’s independence in 1960.

The project also established administration of a central water control system so that the system could be managed successfully in the future. The project had to be built in two phases because of the cost and scale of the construction.

The second phase was completed between 1991-93 and consisted largely of further irrigation and local water supply networks but also included training for developing and managing future water projects.

View from the Kouris Dam. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kouris_Dam#/media/File:Kouris_Dam_-_overflow_day_8_April_2012.jpg" target="_blank">Wikipedia</a>

View from the Kouris Dam. Wikipedia

How the dams work

The Kouris dam collects the water from four rivers: the Kouris, Limnatis, Diarizos and Kryos. It has an earth (clay) embankment at its centre 110m high and 550m long. For the construction of the dam the entire village of Alassa had to be moved to a nearby site (overlooking the reservoir).

Difference the project has made

Cyprus' water supply for irrigation and domestic use (drinking and household) wasn’t sufficient and seasonally irregular.

The country’s tiny 50cm annual rainfall falls mostly in winter. The rivers don’t flow all year round and the island is extremely dry in summer and for much of the year.

Many rural agricultural areas also suffered from the uptake of salt seawater through the natural soil and rocks which tend to act as sponges. More freshwater irrigation was needed to prevent crops being killed from this effect.

Before the country’s independence a number of smaller projects were completed totalling 16 smaller dams which eased the situation but was not serving the growing population which was experiencing a boom thanks to international tourism.

The outcome was a reliable water supply for farmers and the inhabitants of Nicosia and Cyprus’ other large towns, going into the next century.

Fascinating facts

Cyprus’ water supply was increased from 60m3 in 1960 to 300m3 by 1990. The Kouris Dam, built as part of this project, stores 115m3 of water. The irrigation schemes created covered an area of nearly 100km2.

A local legend holds that the Kouris Dam is home to the Ayia Napa sea monster – a cryptid of ancient Greek legend.

People who made it happen

  • Impregilo and J&P

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