KOURIS DAM, Cyprus - A small pool of water at the bottom of Cyprus's
largest reservoir is shrinking by the day: without rain, the main source
of surface water for most of the island will dry up by the end of the
The sun-baked earth in the empty pit at Kouris is a sign of the
unprecedented water crisis facing the Mediterranean island. As climate
change takes effect, authorities face the dilemma of how much to use
energy-intensive desalination to beat the shortage.
"It's bad. Very bad," says Vlassis Partassides, head of water
management at Cyprus's water development department. "If the drought
continues for a fourth year, the consequences will be very severe," he
Reservoirs are less than 9 percent full and residents – accustomed to
treating water as a precious commodity – are braced for another dry
Cypriots' water bills come with graphs showing monthly consumption, and
authorities are swift to alert households to abnormal spikes in use.