The island of Aegina might soon say goodbye to bottled water. After years of planning, a pipeline running from the mainland via Salamina is now providing the Saronic island with potable water – a dream come true for its residents, who until now depended on shipped water, unsuitable for drinking. Like in many parts of the Greek archipelago, a majority of the water consumed here is bottled.
Greece is among Europe’s biggest consumers of plastic water bottles, with most of them being used on the islands and much due to the mismatch in supply of fresh water and the demand which has increased with tourism, according to journalists Peter Schwartzstein and Alexander Clapp, who recently shared their analysis of the problem through Bloomberg. While major projects have been implemented with the aim of creating so-called “green islands,” and efforts have been made in many places to eliminate the use of plastic straws and bags, ending the use of bottles is a tricky battle on islands without sufficient water supply of their own.
The Dodecanese island of Lipsi has previously had some success in cutting down their plastic bottle use, by installing desalination kiosks around the port, but Aegina, located just 27 kilometers from the mainland, is the first island to be connected to the EYDAP public water supply network. Besides the environmental benefits, the completion of the project is predicted to save the Municipality of Aegina and the region of Attica €3-3.5 million each year, once some repairs are completed within the local water network and it’s connected to the new pipeline (source: Kathimerini). The benefits of consumable tap water for locals in general, meanwhile, are obvious.
The construction company in charge of the project, Chr. D. Konstantinidis S.A, is currently running tests to ensure water quality, and is prepared to hand it over to the municipality on January 18.