ATHENS — The water quality in Greece, as for many other countries, is a high priority considering the country is surrounded by it. For Greece, access to a clean water supply is of utmost importance. The Greek peninsula and its islands require an ample amount of clean drinking water but also of clean sea water as its beaches attract tourists year round.
Although the water quality has made drinking tap water acceptable in Athens and other large towns, this practice is still not recommended for most Greek islands and even a few mainland towns. This means most Greek islands do not have their own supply of drinking water and must rely on water brought from the mainland in large water tanks. Their own water supply is commonly used for house cleaning and bathing.
Greater Athens has been growing since the early twentieth century. In order to accommodate this change, the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company expanded its water sources to improve the water quality in Greece. With the installation of the Marathon Dam, Mornos Dam and Evinos Dam to connecting aqueducts, water can be transported from various sources to four treatment plants in the Athens areas: Galatsi, Polydendri, Acharnon and Aspropirgos.
In 2015, a water shortage hit Greece. Although Greece has one of the greatest water resource potentials, people were reminded to conserve water since sources are not constant. Athens also saw a shortage due to the increasing population straining water resources, as well as an increase in demand during the summer months.
Greece may not have direct access to clean drinking water, but they have an abundance of beaches and other bodies of water suitable for swimming and bathing. The European Environment Agency (E.E.A.) puts out a yearly report to the public on water quality in these open water areas.
Through these reports, the E.E.A. is able to predict the water quality in Greece for the next year based on the testing that they do in the current year.
In the E.E.A.’s 2016 report, of the 1,542 water sites investigated in 2016, all but one sites came back with a satisfied or higher rating. One site was deemed not satisfied and subsequently closed in order to reduce pollution and other environmental risks and to make the water quality in Greece suitable again..
However, according to the Panhellenic Center of Environmental Studies (P.C.E.S.) own water quality study, only 96 of the 153 most popular beaches were found suitable for swimming. Furthermore, 57 beaches were “extremely dangerous” for human health.
The U.N. has developed strategies in order to be prepared for freshwater shortages by monitoring climate changes, while the E.E.A. continues to conduct water quality studies and release its findings to the public. With this dedication, hope for improving the condition of the water quality in Greece indefinitely is well on the horizon.
– Stefanie Podosek