OPTIMA: Optimisation   for Sustainable
Water Resources Management

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Case Study: Dhiarizos River, CYPRUS

The Dhiarizos River valley, which covers over 260 km2 in the south-western part of the island, is one of the major watersheds of Cyprus and drains part of the south-western slopes of the Troodos Massif. There are 25 rural Communities with a total population of 3,550 in the basin. The river flows during the winter and spring period, December to June. Stream discharge has been continuously monitored since 1965 and amounts to 24 MCM. The valley extends approximately 33.0 km from the headwaters to the sea. From the sea inward the topography and land use in the valley changes. For the first 5.0 km, the valley is a wide, intensively cultivated, alluvial floodplain. The riverbed is covered with a thick layer of gravel and coarse sand and is underlain by a rich local aquifer. The aquifer serves as a source of water for irrigation and for the drinking water supply of the town of Paphos. The aquifer is also qualitatively and quantitatively monitored. In winter and spring, with plentiful water in the riverbed, extensive vegetation covers the embankments of the river.

For the next 16.0 km the valley becomes a lot narrower. This part of the valley is cultivated only in the wider parts where the river deposited silt formations on the sides of the riverbed. In several locations groundwater is pumped from the gravel layers to irrigate the cultivated patches.

The fauna present in the valley is rather poor. Parameters which control the habitat of animal species, such as climate, topography, rock formations and the type of vegetation along the valley are broadly similar to the rest of the watersheds that drain the Southern slopes of the Troodos Massif, except for those sections of the river which cross the Mamonia formation. Very special habitats (oasis) are created in the Mamonia, where impervious dikes, which cut through the river gravel, raise the underflow to the surface of the river-bed. The perennial vegetation in these oases is of importance, as it is ecologically different from the surrounding areas which are dry during the summer and autumn. A large section of Dhiarizos valley including the Mammonia formations is proposed for inclusion in the NATURA 2000 project.

To satisfy the competing uses and users in and outside the watershed, three structures were programmed for construction in the riverbed: a storage dam, a diversion to transfer water to another watershed and a recharge dam at the lower floodplain. The storage dam (4.5 Million MC) and the diversion are built and are in operation.

PowerPoint presentation (project kick-off meeting, Malta Oct.2004)
Map (Mapquest) Satellite image (NASA) Satellite images (shuttle) Geography of Cyprus
CIA factbook FAO country profile Cyprus at a glance Cyprus time line
Water Resources development Water development Freshwater ecosystems Salination of water resources
Tourism (Paphos) Paphos (city home page) Troodos massif Climate Data

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