Byline: Anna Hassapi

THE EFFORTS of Environment Commissioner Chraralambos Theopemptou to convince the government to make use of rainwater are finally getting some results, he said yesterday. Theopemptou had in recent years been pointing out the need for designing Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are designed to reduce the potential of flooding on new and existing urban developments. Unlike traditional urban stormwater drainage systems, they also help to protect and enhance ground water quality.
..... Click the link for more information. in Cypriot towns, as well as installing mechanisms for storing rainwater in buildings and houses.

"When I was speaking about rainwater last year I got strong reactions and unusual stares. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to provide funding for the installation of rainwater collection systems - something that has not been done until now," said Theopemptou.

Theopemptou also sent letters to the Ministry of Interior and to the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce explaining the need for installing such systems, particularly in a country suffering from drought drought, abnormally long period of insufficient rainfall. Drought cannot be defined in terms of inches of rainfall or number of days without rain, since it is determined by such variable factors as the distribution in time and area of precipitation during and before .

The Environment Commissioner pointed out to the state that European countries with adequate rainfall maintain such systems and that it would be prudent for Cyprus to follow that example.

After a long struggle it appears that Theopemptou has managed to convince authorities to act on his proposal and he has even received a reply letter from the Ministry of Agriculture to a letter he sent a year ago - stating that providing funding for installing such systems was viewed favourably by the state.

"The Water Board is on the verge  of requesting tenders for a study on how to utilise rainwater on two levels: the city level and the household level. For the latter an investigation will take place on what is done in other countries and proposals prepared for the beast way of utilising water, depending on conditions," the letter read.

"The preliminary study will be ready in four months after the signing of the contract, which --under normal conditions - will be done in about three months. Therefore, the Ministry will develop its final position when the study is submitted, but we can say that we view positively the policy of financing water collection systems to save potable   water," the letter continued.

An additional triumph in the rainwater-saving department was the installation and operation of a rainwater collection system at the a primary school in Dhali. "They have installed a nice system that collects rainwater from the roofs of buildings. At the same time, they have installed a system that collects water from the school's fountains and washbasins, the so-called grey water, which is treated and sent back to flush toilets," said Theopemptou.

Meanwhile, the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce (ETEK ETEK Epistimoniko Techniko Epimelitirio Kyprou (Cyprus Technical Chamber; Lefkosia, Cyprus) ) also expressed its interest in the matter, as well as its intention to organise a conference on the subject.

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