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Cyprus is part of:
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Water Basins of Cyprus:
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Facts & Figures edit
Capital Nicosia
Neighbouring Countries Egypt, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey
Total Area 9,250 km2
  - Water 10 km2 (0.11%) / 11 m2/ha
  - Land 9,240 km2
Coastline 648 km
Population 835,307 (90 inhab./km2)
HDIA 0.912 (2007)
Gini CoefficientA n/a (1995)
Nominal GDPB $25,590 million
GDP (PPP) Per CapitaB $29,200
National UN Presence UNDP
Land UseC
  - Cultivated Land 1,398 km2 (15.13%)
     - Arable 999 km2 (10.81%)
     - Permanent Crops 399 km2 (4.32%)
     - Irrigated 400 km2
  - Non cultivated 25,751 km2 (84.87%)
Average Annual RainfallD 498 mm
Renewable Water ResourcesE 0.4 km3
Water WithdrawalsF 0.24 km3/yr
  - For Agricultural Use 71%
  - For Domestic Use 29%
  - For Industrial Use 0%
  - Per Capita 305 m3
Population with safe access to
  - Improved Water Source 100%
     - Urban population 100%
     - Rural population 100%
  - Improved Sanitation 100%
     - Urban population 100%
     - Rural population 100%
References & Remarks
A UNDP Human Development Report
B CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia
C CIA World Factbook Country Profiles
D Aquastat - FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture
E CIA World Factbook
F Earthtrends

> Articles | Projects & Case studies | Publications & Web resources | Who is who | Maps
> Sector Assessment | Sector Coordination | Donor Profile

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Type & Date Short Description Link
16 July 2008 Cyprus Faces Water Crisis FIND OUT MORE
30 June 2008 Parched Cyprus awaits Water Ships FIND OUT MORE

Country Profile: Climate, Geography, Socio-Economic Context

Country Profile: Water Bodies and Resources

There are 14 main rivers, none of which provides perennial flow. The source of water for these rivers originates in the Troodos mountains. The main groundwater aquifers are the Western Mesaoria (Morphou), Kokkinochoria (South-eastern and Eastern Mesaoria) and the Akrotiri. Smaller aquifers exist in other parts of the country.

At present, almost all the renewable water resources in Cyprus are utilized and, in a number of areas, groundwater is rapidly depleting with sea water intrusion occurring in the main coastal aquifers. There is no accurate estimate of the quantity of water extracted in excess of natural recharge, but it could be as high as 40 million cubic metres per year. Even so, in years of drought or below-average rainfall, it is necessary to divert water from agriculture to the domestic and industrial sectors.

The trend in recent years, which is likely to continue in the future, is that increasing quantities of water will be used for domestic water supplies at the expense of agriculture. This has been necessary in view of industrialization, an increasing standard of living, and the expansion of tourist services.

Water provision in Cyprus dates back to Roman times when water was distributed through clay pipes. The water distribution system of course is modern and the coverage of water supply is 100 percent in both urban and rural areas; however significant water losses happen through leakage. Cyprus's water supply is both inadequate and irregular. The average rainfall of 500 mm, mostly in the winter, left the island quite dry much of the rest of the time because no rivers flowed year round. During the colonial period, a dam and reservoir construction program was begun, and by independence Cyprus had sixteen dams with a storage capacity of six million cubic meters, or 1 percent of the island's estimated 600 million cubic meters of usable runoff from annual rainfall.

After independence a number of large projects were mounted to increase reservoir storage capacity, which reached 300 million cubic meters by 1990. The most important of these projects, and the largest development project in Cyprus since independence, was the Southern Conveyor Project, which collected surplus water from the southwestern part of the island and conveyed it by a 110-kilometer long water carrier to the central and eastern areas. When the project reached completion in 1993, it, and a number of other large projects, would guarantee farmers and the inhabitants of Nicosia and other towns adequate amounts of water into the next century.

Water for the Economy of Cyprus

Spring water and groundwater were the first targets of water resources development. Traditionally, this water was cheap and easy to develop by individual farmers or farmers' Irrigation Divisions or Associations. In the former case the farmers develop the springs on an individual basis, while in the latter case water resources are developed by a group of farmers who are then eligible for a government subsidy for the capital expenditure. In both cases a government permit is required prior to initiating any water work. Normally these schemes are small and they cover 1 to 3 hectares, although larger schemes also have been developed in recent years.

After independence in 1961, and following the full utilization of groundwater resources, emphasis was placed on collecting and storing surface water during the winter and utilizing it throughout the year. In 1994, a little less than half the area was irrigated from surface water.

Country Profile: Legal and Institutional Environment

Many of the water laws in Cyprus are concerned with irrigation. They precede independence in 1961, and include the Government Water Works Law, which provides for the control of water and the construction of water works by the government. The Wells Law covers the installation of wells and their related water rights; the law on Irrigation Divisions regulates the formation of Irrigation Divisions and their operation. The Laws, in general, function effectively and, in the case of the Water Laws, cover all aspects of water development as well as interactions between the government and users. All land in Cyprus is registered and owners have deeds or certificates of ownership.

An integral components of the government's policy in water resources management will be the improvement of the water delivery system in the hilly areas, and further overall water savings through increasing the price of irrigation water.

UNDP Water Management

Through two large-scale projects, the "Survey of Groundwater and Mineral Resources in Cyprus" (1962-1969) and "Surveys, Demonstration and Planning of Water Resource Utilization" (1966-1973), a masterplan was formulated for the management of the island's water resources. As a result, other related fields of cooperation were identified and at the end of the surveys, the Geological Survey Department and the Water Development Department had grown into strong technical organizations, fully equipped to undertake further studies on their own.

The Paphos Irrigation Project with UNDP technical assistance and a World Bank loan of $14 million provided sprinkler irrigation to some 5,000 hectares of farmland, raising the income of 3,500 farm families.

The Khrysokhou Watershed Irrigation Project (FAO/UNDP/Government) provided for feasibility and engineering design studies from 1979 to 1982. Construction began in January 1984 with the World Bank financing $16 million of the $49 million cost.Under the Vassilikos - Pendaskinos Project construction of the dams was completed in 1985. This project increased the irrigated area in the Larnaca region and the domestic and industrial water supply of three cities. The Southern Conveyor Project is the most ambitious water development project ever attempted in Cyprus. It started in 1984, and the first phase was completed in 1989, providing water from 2,600 farm units. About 600,000 consumers also benefited from increased water supply. For the first phase, loans with a total value of $61 million were secured, of which $27 million was provided by the World Bank, $10 million by the Kuwait Fund and $24 million by the European Investment Fund. For the second phase, loans of $42.5 million were secured. UNDP continued to provide consultancy services in strengthening the capacity of the project management in terms of tender evaluation, contract award, supervision of consultants etc. For more info see

Country Profile: Water Sector Coordination

See Sector coordination sub-page for detailed description

Country Profile: Trends in Water Use, Management and Sanitation

In order to celebrate World Water Day 2010, the UNDP-ACT-funded ENGAGE project hosted an event on water issues and climate change, updating the situation on the island, through a presentation by Prof. Manfred Lange, Director of the Energy, Environment and Water Research Centre of the Cyprus Institute on the current climate change situation in Cyprus and predictions for the future of the water situation:  ENGAGE Presentation M A Lange March 2010.pdf. The press release for this event can be downloaded here:  Press release world water day final cc2403 (2)-1-.doc.

Other efforts are under way to provide concrete policy recommendations about water supply and demand on the island, the foremost efforts being led by the Cyprus 2015 project, which is supported by UNDP-ACT and has held a series of panel discussions on the water management approaches on the island. The finalised policy document, once made public, will be posted here.

Country Profile: Challenges and Opportunities

In 2008, UNDP-ACT supported a project implemented by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot ornithologists to undertake the first island-wide effort to monitor and log the different species of waterbirds visiting Cyprus' wetlands. The resulting publication is attached. Waterbirds Book Final.pdf


Recently updated articles on Cyprus
  1. Cyprus/publications ‎(1,182 views) . . WikiBot
  2. Cyprus/who is who ‎(1,400 views) . . WikiBot
  3. Cyprus/Maps ‎(957 views) . . WikiBot
  4. Cyprus/articles ‎(1,264 views) . . WikiBot
  5. Cyprus/projects ‎(1,299 views) . . WikiBot
  6. UNDP-ACT ‎(4,284 views) . . WikiBot
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See the complete list of WaterWiki articles on Cyprus

Projects and Case Studies

Projects in or about Cyprus

(this is a list of the 15 most recently updated entries. To see all projects click here)

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Case studies in or about Cyprus

(by popularity)

  1. Cyprus - Management and Assessment of the Ecology of Cyprus’ Artificial Wetlands (MACAW) ‎(178,417 views) . . Katy.norman

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented projects in Cyprus


5 most recently updated publications on Cyprus
  1. Cyprus Country Profile for the Johannesburg Summit 2002 ‎(3,171 views) . . Katy.norman

5 most popular publications on Cyprus
  1. Cyprus Country Profile for the Johannesburg Summit 2002 ‎(3,171 views) . . Katy.norman

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented publications on Cyprus

Who is Who

People working in Cyprus
  1. Constantinos Kounnamas ‎(2,510 views)
  2. Nicolas.jarraud ‎(1,423 views)
  3. Salih Gücel ‎(2,309 views)
  4. Ozge Ozden ‎(2,495 views)
  5. Iris Charalambidou ‎(2,643 views)
  6. Costas Kadis ‎(3,316 views)
  7. Conor Linstead ‎(2,735 views)

See the complete list of Waterwiki users working in Cyprus

Organizations working in Cyprus

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See the complete list of WaterWiki documented organizations in Cyprus


See also

External Resources

FAO/Aquatstat Data Table

WHO/UNICEF WSS Joint Monitoring Programme (June 2006)

UNDP Water Knowledge Fair 2006 Cyprus

World Environment Day 2006: Don't desert drylands!

Outline recommendations for wetland management in Cyprus

UNDP Action for Cooperation and Trust

FAO Aquastat Cyprus

UNDP Cyprus

Cyprus Environment Service

Republic of Cyprus Water Development Department

Cyprus Fisheries Department

Cyprus page on the website of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

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