The Greek government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as drought and water shortages hit several Cycladic islands in the Aegean during the country's peak tourism season.
Officials said they issued the emergency after heat waves in June and July and scant rainfall reached an all time high.
The announcement obliges state officials to cut through red tape that has been hindering initiatives to boost water supplies which include the construction of water tanks and desalination plants as well as the maintenance of irrigation networks.
According to a report in the Greek daily Kathimerini newspaper, local authorities on popular tourist destinations such as Mykonos, Paros and Santorini along with dozens of smaller islands received 24 million euros to improve water supplies earlier this year.
But the funds which were supposed to have been allocated for the construction of water tanks and plants have yet to be spent, according to the newspaper report.
"Since 2003 we have been asking for less money to be spent on transporting water to the islands and for the cash to be spent on building the required infrastructure" Cycladic Prefect Dimitris Bailas was quoted as saying.
He said that the cost of transporting water to an island for two years is the same as constructing a medium-sized desalination unit.
Meanwhile dozens of islands such as Milos, Syros, Kimolos, Tinos, Paros, Sifnos and Ios claimed that their water resources had already run dry.
"We need help, there has been no water in the island since yesterday," said Kimolos Mayor Theodoros Maganiotis, adding that the dwindling supplies on the island were largely due to the infrequency with which water is delivered to them by ferry.
While the island of Santorini already has a desalination unit in operation, plans for similar units in the islands of Syros, Paros and Tinos have been stalled due to residents' protests and bureaucratic hurdles.
Last Mod: 01 Ağustos 2007, 19:22