Greece ponders desalination for Aegean islands

The Greek government is pondering a strategy to boost desalination on the Aegean islands after a new plant on Hydra cut the price of water there by two thirds.

Athens is understood to view view the plant on Hydra as a potential blueprint which could be followed by other islands. Environment minister Yiannis Maniatis has been reported as saying said he would be hosting a meeting at the ministry next week to discuss a strategy for creating similar desalination plants “on all the Aegean islands.”

“We have to overhaul the whole system,” said the government’s general secretary for the Aegean, Nikos Zoidis. “Desalination is clearly cheaper than transporting water, the water is cleaner and there is no danger of an island being cut off – if there is bad weather for example.”

Zoidis said that there was a lack of coordination between government departments and municipalities regarding the installation of desalination plants and that the government would have to improve on this.

“We want private companies to install desalination units on all the islands within the next eight months,” he said, adding that the ministry would examine whether it could contribute financially to the projects or act as a guarantor.

The 1,600 cubic meters of water a day plant at Hydra was built by Greek firm, Temak, which won an international tender to build and run the unit for 12 years. Hydra used to get water delivered by ship which was, outgoing Hydra mayor Angelos Kotronis, “Poor quality water but there was no choice.”

“Water used to cost the municipality €3.19 a cubic meter but now we will pay €1.19 euros and all we had to do was provide the land for the plant to be built,” said Kotronis.