BAD weather has prevented the unloading of the first batch of water transported from Greece by tanker, with a further delay until Sunday being the latest forecast.
District Director of the Water Development Department Nicodemos Nicodemou said yesterday that, due to strong winds and undersea currents in the Yermasoyia area, the pipes would not keep still.
This made it impossible for the work to proceed smoothly resulting in a 48 – hour delay.
He nevertheless noted that as the results of the water quality tests would not be ready before Friday or Saturday, it did not make much difference any way.
The first shipment of water arrived at Limassol port on Monday and was scheduled to go ashore by Wednesday, but despite a blessing ceremony by Archbishop Chrysostomos, it is still waiting offshore.
Michalis Ioannides, Director of Ocean Tankers that won the contract for the transportation of the water, said that the greatest challenge facing them was the alignment of the articulated 1,300m undersea pipe with the single buoy mooring and the land pipe.
“By this afternoon or late tonight the undersea pipe is scheduled to be submerged and joined to the buoy mooring,” he was quoted as saying yesterday.
Nicodemou said that according to company representatives the sea pipe would be stabilised, so it would not be affected by weather conditions, allowing it to be joined to the buoy and the land pipe.
The single buoy mooring, fastened with several anchors to the seabed, would serve both as a mooring for the tanker and as an outlet to pump the water to shore.
Following the completion of the whole procedure and before any water went on shore, Nicodemou said that the pipe would be flushed with chlorine in order to cleanse and sterilise it.
Cyprus has bought 8 million cu.m of water from Greece, half the quantity it needs this year. It will be transported in 50,000 cu.m daily installments using six tankers until November-December.
Meanwhile, Cypriots have been facing water rationing since the middle of March due to the protracted drought that has depleted its reservoirs.
The situation was recently aggravated by a breakdown of one of the island’s two desalination plants at Dhekelia, due to a power cut. Paralimni and Larnaca were badly affected by the failure.
On Tuesday the same desalination unit encountered yet another electrical problem, which put it out of order again.
Cyprus Weekly , 8 July 2008