Research & Application

Technical Support of the Central Water Resources Agency for the Preparation of Drought Management Strategies and Short Term Drought Response Plan in Greece.

The challenges that have to be faced nowadays by more and more countries in their effort for economic and social development are increasingly associated with water. Water shortages, water quality deterioration and flood impacts are among the most pressing problems that require attention and action. More central for the present argument is the criticism that water has not been given the major role it deserves as a development factor.

There are many countries around the world including Greece, lacking an established water resources Master Plan able to set goals and objectives with strategic vision for water resources management (Vlachos, E.C., and C. Α. Karavitis, 1996, Karavitis, C.A., 2008). It has been ascertained that not only there is no global view of water problems, but that water resources, especially river basins as a critical management unit, have not been accorded the importance they deserve into the socio-economic and land use planning as well as in national policies regarding the environment, health, energy, agriculture, industry, and more important, in efforts for regional development. . Moreover, it appears that the policies of water resources are not formulated by clear, concrete, logical, and reasonable procedures to include all stakeholder groups involved, but rather evolve into a synthesis of an often vaguely expressed public policies and directives, public opinion and a rather conflicting environmental decision making. Finally, an important problem relates to the fact that Greece shares water with neighboring countries. Agreements are still pending with regard to various water uses as well as water discharges and water quality levels for watercourses crossing the Greek frontiers.

All of the above imply for Greece that there are not only continuous conflicts at all levels (individual, local, national, and transnational) but that incongruences and conflicts will further increase as demands change and the social structure of the country is transformed. Such observations are reinforced by increasing demands, misuses and abuses of water arising from population growth, rapid urbanization, industrialization, uncontrolled agricultural practices and the overall economic pressures from rising standards of living. Thus, present and potential future conflicts become the driving reasons for a comprehensive framework of integrated planning and management of water resources and for developing an institutional framework capable of implementing properly conceived and articulated resource policies.