Sustainable Use of Water in the Aegean Islands

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Journal of Environmental Management 90 (2009) 2601–2611

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Journal of Environmental Management
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Sustainable use of water in the Aegean Islands
Petros Gikas a, b, c, d, *,1, 2, George Tchobanoglous a,1
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California at Davis, One Shields Avenue, Engineering III, Davis, CA 95616, USA Hellenic Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, General Secretariat of Public Works, Special Service of Public Works for Greater Athens Sewerage and Sewage Treatment, Varvaki 12, Athens 11474, Greece c Hellenic Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, Central Water Agency, Patission 147, Athens 11251, Greece d Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Chania 17300, Greece b a

a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history: Received 24 July 2008 Received in revised form 27 December 2008 Accepted 21 January 2009 Available online 24 February 2009 Keywords: Water reclamation Water reuse Wastewater Water recourses management Desalination Water importation Water economics

a b s t r a c t
Water demands in the Aegean Islands have increased steadily over the last decade as a result of a building boom for new homes, hotels, and resorts. The increase in water demand has resulted in the disruption of past sustainable water management practices. At present, most freshwater needs are met through the use of the limited groundwater, desalinated seawater, and freshwater importation. Wastewater reclamation, not used extensively, can serve as an alternative source of water, for a variety of applications now served with desalinated and imported water. Three alternative processes: desalination, importation, and water reclamation are compared with respect to cost, energy requirements and longterm sustainability. Based on the comparisons made, water reclamation and reuse should be components of any long-term water resources management strategy. Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction The Mediterranean climate near the coasts is characterized by mild winters with relatively low water precipitation, followed by dry summers. The average annual water precipitation at the Aegean Islands is about 585 mm (based on data for Aegean Islands that belong to the Greek Prefectures of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Cyclades and Dodecanese – see Fig. 1a). Of the precipitation, less than 14 percent percolates into the ground. Evaporation and surface runoff to the sea accounts for 53 and 33 percent, respectively (Hellenic Ministry of Development, 2006). Typical hydrological data for the Aegean Islands are presented in Table 1. More than 50 inhabited islands are included in the aforementioned Prefectures. The total area of the Aegean Islands is 9104 km2, with a combined population of 508,807 people (census 2001) (ESYE, 2002). The Aegean Islands are visited by a large number of tourists during the summer season, with over 15,000,000 overnight stays per year (Dedian et al., 2000). In addition to the tourists, a large number of non-permanent residents, with holiday

* Corresponding author. Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, 73100 Chania, Greece. E-mail address: (P. Gikas). 1 Tel.: þ1 530 752 6757; fax: þ1 530 752 7872. 2 Tel.: þ30 282 1037781; fax: þ30 282 1037846. 0301-4797/$ – see front matter Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2009.01.020

homes on the islands, return every summer, or during holiday periods. As a result during August the population of the Aegean Islands is typically 10 times greater than the winter population, whilst in some islands it exceeds 30 times (Dedian et al., 2000). In most of the Aegean Islands, where the freshwater sources are limited, people depended traditionally on rain water collection for most of their needs,...
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