Water Development

Throughout its long history Cyprus has always been confronted with the problem of water shortage. Having no rivers with perennial flow and with a highly variable precipitation, the country experiences frequent droughts. The average annual precipitation, including snowfall, amounts to approximately 500mm, whereas during the past years this amount fell to 461mm.


Up until 1970, groundwater was the main source of water for both domestic supply and irrigation. As a result, almost all aquifers were seriously depleted because of over-pumping, and seawater intrusion was observed in most of the coastal aquifers. At the time, large quantities of surface water were lost through run-offs.


The Government authorities recognised the increasing water problem on the island and with the support of international organisations, established a long-term programme to address the problem effectively.


After independence, attention was turned to the systematic study and construction of water development works, both for storage and recharge purposes, followed by the implementation of a long-term plan for the construction of major development projects, which involved the building of a large number of dams.


The total storage capacity of the dams is approximately 332 million cubic metres (MCM) of water, compared to 6 MCM in 1960, which is really impressive when compared to other countries of the same size and development level.


Despite the remarkable progress in the sector, quantities of water available for human consumption and irrigation purposes were not adequate. This was due to an increased demand for water, declining precipitation, global climate change and the greenhouse effect.


To remedy the situation, desalination units were constructed in order to achieve water security and independence of the domestic water supply from climatic behavior. Today, the total maximum capacity of the desalination plants can satisfy the drinking water needs of the large urban, suburban and tourist areas of Cyprus, allowing more quantities of dam water to be available for irrigation needs, for environmental flows and for recharge of the heavily over-pumped aquifers.


The government water policy is not limited to desalination, but also focuses on the exploitation of other non-conventional sources of water, such as recycled water.  Tertiary treated recycled water of strict quality standards is used for irrigation of agricultural crops and aquifer recharge, thus releasing equal quantities of good quality water for domestic supply.


Within the framework of harmonisation with the European Directive 91/271/EEC, a relevant programme (National Implementation Programme – NIP) aimed at the installation of central sewerage systems for the collection and treatment of sewage in all residential areas with a population of over 2.000 persons has been prepared. The NIP includes the four large urban areas of Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaka and Pafos, the two tourist areas of Agia Napa and Paralimni and 50 rural communities. At the same time the installation of sewerage treatment systems has been extended to smaller rural communities, which do not fall within the obligations for harmonization (with a population less than 2.000 persons), but which face problems with sewage disposal.


The construction of additional water works, as provided for in the Strategic Water Development Plan for the period up to 2015, is also being developed.


In addition, the implementation of the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC constitutes an integral part of the government water policy. The Water Framework Directive establishes a legal framework to protect and restore all waters across Europe and sets ambitious objectives to ensure that all waters meet good status by 2015. Cyprus is currently implementing its River Basing Management Plan which is the key tool for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Due to the severe water scarcity and drought problems in Cyprus, a Drought Management Plan has also been established.


For more information:


Water Development Department website:


Cyprus lies within the Alpine-Himalayan seismic zone, in which about 15% of the world earthquakes occur. The seismicity of Cyprus is thought to be due to the “Cyprus Arc”, which constitutes the tectonic boundary between the African and Eurasian in the eastern Mediterranean region. The African plate moves northwards, colliding with the Eurasian plate. As a result it is being sub-ducted (pushed under) the Anatolian microplate, which marks southern end of the Eurasian plate.


Historical references and archaeological findings reveal that strong earthquakes struck Cyprus in the past, which on several occasions destroyed its towns. Historical data show that 20 destructive earthquakes with intensities of at least “V” on the modified Mercalli scale occurred between 26 B.C. and 1900 A.D.


More accurate data of earthquakes occurring in the Cyprus region have been collected since 1896, when seismological stations started operating in neighbouring countries. The situation has improved considerably since the mid-1980s with the establishment of local seismological stations in Cyprus.


During the last century, at least 500 earthquakes with epicentres in the vicinity of the broader Cyprus area were felt in parts of the island. Out of these, 14 caused damage and some of them unfortunately caused victims. The highest seismic activity is observed in the south-west part of the Cyprus Arc and on land faults along in the south part of the island, in Pafos, Limassol and Larnaka Districts.


The study of the historical and recent earthquakes shows that the distribution in time of the seismic activity is not regular, but there are periods of intense activity followed by periods of quiescence. During the period 1995-1999, an increase of seismic activity was observed with strong to very strong earthquakes with magnitudes of 5.6-6.5 on the Richter scale.


Continuous and detailed monitoring of the seismicity of the broader area of Cyprus is done through the seismological centre of the Geological Survey Department. This centre composes of nine on-shore and two ocean-bottom seismological stations, equipped with sensitive seismometers and utilizing satellite communication technology for private real-time and continuous communication with two seismological data processing centres.


Earthquakes are natural phenomena that cannot be avoided. However, the effects of earthquakes to the built-environment can be reduced considerably or even be obliterated. In order to achieve this, measures have been taken since the 1980s that have concentrated principally on the following: a) the study and better understanding of the seismicity of the Cyprus region; b) the study of the behaviour of soils during an earthquake in which buildings and other structures are founded, with special emphasis on the soils of urban and coastal areas; c) the construction of seismic resistant structures and the anti-seismic shielding of existing ones; and d) the establishment of the necessary infrastructure for immediate and effective reaction following an earthquake.


Besides earthquakes, there are additional geohazards in Cyprus, such as landslides and soil swelling and subsidence. The most significant are landslides which are identified as destabilization of rock/soil masses on a slope and their downhill movement. Landslides may occur due to a number of factors, the most significant of which are rock/soil type and slope. However, hydrological and hydrogeological conditions as well as climate conditions, seismicity and some human intervention also contribute to landslides activation.


Favourable conditions for landslides exist mainly in areas of Pafos and Limassol Districts, where in the 1960s the communities such as Choletria, Agios Photios, Statos, Fasoula, Phinikas, Korfi, Kivides and Pentalia have been abandoned and relocated to safer areas.


As part of a comprehensive response and proper management of geohazards, the Geological Survey establishes geohazard zoning/suitability in problematic areas, especially in the Pafos District and creates relevant thematic maps, which are a useful tool for a better and safer urban development planning.


For further information:


Geological Survey Department webpage:


Tel: 22 409213


Groundwater Resources

Historic survey


Based on Cyprus’ geographical position one would expect that it would be an extension of Nekev desert, with arid to semiarid climate. The differential uplifting of Troodos, however, brought about through complex geological processes, directly influenced the climatic conditions of the island, particularly rainfall. Therefore, average annual rainfall in the Troodos Mountain is of the order of 1.000mm while in the lowlands of 300mm and with the absence of rainfall for nine months or more, there are strong features of arid climate.


Water resources, both surface and underground, constitute a vital commodity for the growth and progress of human kind. Thus, its availability always governed the foundation of new settlements, from ancient times to the recent years.


The foundation of the first settlements in Cyprus was based on the exploitation of spring and river flows. Since the Neolithic times, Cypriots have realized the scarcity of surface waters during the dry seasons and therefore, they initiated groundwater exploration.


The extensive copper extraction (3rd millennium B.C.) resulted also to the overall development of the island giving also rise to population growth and, consequently, to water demand increase. These demands were at first covered by springs and later on by dug well, a practice which continued through the Hellenistic period. During the Roman and Byzantine periods great aqueducts were also constructed such as the one of Salamis, which supplied the city with water from the Kythrea springs. During the Ottoman period, the construction of “Lagoumia”, a chain of wells interconnected through a tunnel, via which groundwater was driven to the surface has been developed.


The systematic pumping of aquifers commenced by the end of 19th century coinciding with the import of windmills and continued later on with the drilling of bore holes. The very first (percussion) rig was imported in 1920. By 1950, the practice of borehole drilling was already established thus intensifying the exploitation of the known aquifers. Eventually, thousands of irrigation boreholes were drilled, unfortunately most of them without any control.


The exploitation of groundwater for irrigation contributed in the replacement of non-irrigated with irrigated crops, such as the citrus plantations in Morfou and Ammochostos. The growth of irrigated agriculture has resulted, however, to the gradual inversion of the water balance.


Therefore, seawater intruded in the majority of the coastal aquifers, groundwater levels lowered and borehole yields reduced. The ascertainment of a negative water balance in many aquifers in conjunction with the increased water needs, have led the State to the design and construction of major waterworks such as dams, water channels, river ponds and, recently, desalination plants. Furthermore, the exploitation of the aquifers in the Troodos ophiolites, commenced; it was made possible because of importation of contemporary and high capacity drilling rigs.


Type of aquifers


In Cyprus there are three types of aquifers. The first one is the clastic aquifers and they are mainly developed in river and deltaic deposits as well as in old marine terraces. In these aquifers, groundwater fills the pore space between the sand arid gravel grains. In the second class belong the karstic and pseudokarstic type aquifers. The former are associated with carbonated rocks such as limestone, dolomite and marble while the latter mainly with gypsum. In these types of aquifers, groundwater takes up the voids (caves) which are created from the dissolution of such rocks. The fractured aquifers represent the third class of aquifers in which water fills up the space created from the fracturing of the sound bedrock-mass (fracture zones). The productivity of these aquifers depends mainly on the lithology, the extend of tectonic fracturing and the presence of (secondary) clay minerals.


The most important clastic aquifer is that of the Western. In the area of Morfou (Mesaoria) it is mainly developed in the alluvial deposits of the torrential river Serrahis. Its recharge results mainly from the flow of Serrahis tributaries which originate from the north-western part Troodos (Peristerona and Akaki rivers). However, because of overpumping, a negative water balance has been developed and consequently, groundwater levels have been lowered. Salinity is also increased, in a great part of the aquifer. Other notable clastic aquifers are those of South-Eastern Mesaoria (Kokkinochoria), Akrotiri and the Pafos coastal zone.


The most important karstic aquifer is that of the Pentadaktylos Mountain. It is developed in limestone, dolomites and marbles. Prior to its exploitation through boreholes, ground water recharged through the known overflow karstic springs (Kephalaria), like the one in Kythrea village. Pseudokarstic aquifers occur in gypsum of the Kalavassos formation such as the one at Maroni village of Larnaka District as well as at Yiolou-Letympou villages in Pafos District.


Finally, the fractured aquifers are mainly developed in the Troodos ophiolites. The most promising hydrogeological conditions are observed in gabbro while in the lavas are the poorest. Similar type aquifers are developed in the massive chalks of the Lefkara formation.


The climatic conditions of Cyprus render great importance to its groundwater resources, towards the development and prosperity of the island. For this purpose, emphasis is placed on research, exploration, monitoring and protection of groundwater resources and for meeting water supply needs. In addition, the relevant provisions of national and community legislation relating to the protection of waters are implemented.


Due to prolonged droughts, which often occur in Cyprus, hydrogeological investigation focuses on drilling new wells to meet water supply needs in mountainous and semi-mountainous communities, which are not connected to major state water projects. In addition, the drilling activity aims to replace existing water supply wells, the water of which differs from the relevant quality standards. Such drilling activities are done by the Geological Survey Department’s drilling crews, as well as through outsourcing.


Systematic monitoring and evaluation of groundwater quality is done in the context of the implementation of the provisions of EU and National legislation. The Department also operates a telemetric monitoring network as well as other networks.


In addition, studies are carried out to implement the provisions of KDP 45/1996 of the Law 106(I)/2002, relating to the delineation of protection zones for all water supply wells.

Mineral Resources

Since antiquity, Cyprus was well known for its rich copper ores and for three thousand years was the biggest centre for mining and exporting of copper. Furthermore, since the Paleolithic era, stones were used as primary building material, initially in their natural form (rubble stone), i.e. as they are found in nature and later on, as cut and carved stones (ashlar stone). Calcarenite was the predominant rock type that was used to make the first stone tools and built the archaeological sites. Gradually other mineral resources were discovered and used since ancient times such as gypsum for mortar and clay for production of terracotta and clay pots. These mineral resources constitute essential raw materials to industry and in recent time, their exploitation continues and enhances with further uses.


Metallic Minerals


During the last century there has been extensive exploitation of copper deposits and production of copper concentrates. In 1996, the environmentally friendly method of hydrometallurgy was applied for the first time in Cyprus and in Europe, in the Skouriotissa mine. With this method, the ore is pilled in heaps and sprinkled with acidic solution rich in chemolithotrophic (rock-eating) bacteria. The derived solution is then treated in a solvent extraction plant where the electrolysis of the solution follows, leading in the production of metallic copper with content 99.999% Cu.


Geological investigations, during the 1920s, identified a chromite deposit of economic importance and in 1935 the exploitation of chromite ore began in three underground mines (Hadjipavlou, Kokkinorotsos and Kannoures) and it was exported for various industrial uses. During the 1980s, due to international price fall, the exploitation of chromite ceased to be economically profitable and the mines were closed. The remaining chromite reserves are estimated at about 300.000 tons.




Cyprus was known for its asbestos since the Classical and Roman time that it was used for making textiles for incineration, shoes, and fireproof materials. The main deposits of chrysotile asbestos occur in zones of intense serpentinisation of harzburgite in the eastern part of the Troodos ophiolite, over an area of about 20km2 near the village of Amiantos. Asbestos is found in veins, the thickness of which reaches 30mm. The average grade of the deposit was approximately 0.8-1 %. The exploitation of asbestos began in 1904. The operation of asbestos mine was profitable until 1981. After 1981, the increased use of synthetic substitutes of asbestos caused in to the drastic reduction of the asbestos demand, and as a result, the mine faced economic problems, which combined with environmental problems led to its final closure in 1992. About 130 million tons of rock was mined to produce about one million tons of fibres. The asbestos mine is currently under environmental rehabilitation and it is an international study-case for the restoration of an asbestos mine.


Industrial Minerals


Aggregates are basic raw materials for the building industry and road construction. They can be any of several hard, inert materials used for mixing cement or bitumen to form concrete, mortar or plaster or used alone as in graded fill. Aggregates are characterized as coarse (gravel) or fine (sand) depending on their particle size and natural or crushed depending on their source. The rocks used as raw materials for the production of aggregates are diabase, reef limestone and calcarenite. They are extracted from open pits and undergo crushing, screening and whenever necessary washing. There are 22 quarries operating, ten in diabase, ten in reef limestone and two in calcarenite.


Gypsum is a soft evaporate mineral, which has been used as a construction material for centuries. Gypsum deposits are extensive in the island, reaching the thickness of 150m. It appears as laminated microcrystalline layers, selenite crystals and alabaster. Today, gypsum is produced in the form of plaster and filler. Gypsum is also used for the production of cement, along with chalk and marl. The laminated gypsum is used for internal floor tiles in buildings with traditional architecture.


Bentonite has a very high plasticity, good swelling properties and variable colour from greenish grey/yellowish brown to khaki or pinkish. It is an industrial mineral with a variety of uses, due to its ability to swell with absorption of water and shrink with the expulsion of water. The amount of water it can absorb reaches five times its weight and is associated with an increase of its volume of up to 15 times. This characteristic capacity can be repeated many times. Bentonite is excavated periodically from shallow quarries and transported to factories where it is laid down to dry and is blended before processing. Most of the bentonitic clays from Cyprus are exported for use as pet litter. A sodium activation process has been developed to improve the properties of the natural bentonite. Bentonite outcrops widely around Troodos, covering an area of about 80km2. The total resource is estimated around 2 billion tonnes.


Clay is a basic raw material for the production of bricks, tiles and pottery as well as one of the basic raw materials of the cement industry. It is a fine-grained natural sediment or soft rock composed of clay-sized colloidal particles and characterized by high plasticity. The typical Cyprus clay is mainly composed of montmorillonite and on a later degree of clay minerals of the illite and kaolin groups. In addition, it includes very fine fragments of quartz, decomposed feldspars, carbonates, ferruginous mater and other impurities. In Cyprus, clays that are of the montmorillonite and smectite groups are extracted in various locations from the sedimentary deposits of the Nicosia Formation and from weathered, reworked and redeposited igneous rocks of the Ophiolite (red clay).


In Cyprus, building stone was for centuries the main construction material. The type of stone was diachronically related to the rocks of each area. In the Troodos Mountains rocks from the ophiolite, such as gabbro, diabase, harzburgite were used. In other areas chalk, limestone and calcarenite were used as building stones. Calcarenite was extensively used in Cyprus for the construction of fortifications such as the Venetian Walls of Nicosia, castles, as well as public buildings, churches, and mansions. Even though all of the above types of natural building stone are still produced and used today, their primary use has been shifted from building to decorative (dimension stones). The building stone products are manufactured to be used for cladding as well as internal and external floor paving. At present, calcarenite of the Pakhna Formation is used as decorative stone. Also as building and decorative stone are used the massive and silicified chalks and laminated gypsum.


Cyprus was also known in the antiquity for its natural pigments such as umber (dark, iron-bearing sediment), ochre (iron oxides and hydroxides) and terra verde (celadonite). The exploitation of these materials is still ongoing through sporadic quarrying, processing and exporting.


Chalk, marl and gypsum are the main raw materials used for the production of cement and there are mineral resources that are found in abundance in Cyprus.

Geology of Cyprus

The geological history of Cyprus began 92 million years ago when the Troodos ophiolite formed at the bottom of the Neotythean Ocean, which at the time extended from the Pyrenees (through the Alps) to the Himalayas. It is regarded as the most completed and studied ophiolite in the world. It is a fragment of a fully developed oceanic crust, with its stratigraphic completeness making it unique. It consists of a group of basic and ultrabasic rocks, consisting from the lower to the upper stratigraphic units of harzburgite and serpentinite of the upper mantle sequence, dunite, wehrlite, pyrixenite, gabbro and plagiogranite of the cumulate rocks, diabase of the Sheeted Dyke Complex, lava flows of the volcanic horizons and umbers which at the upper statigraphic levels alternate with deep sedimentary rocks such as radiolarites and mudstones (Perapedi Formation).


The Troodos ophiolite complex was formed during the complex processes of oceanic spreading and the formation of new oceanic crust. It was placed and uplifted to its present position through complicated tectonic processes relating to the collision of the African and Arabian Plate with the Eurasian Plate.


The collision of the edges of the Arabian Plate with the Eurasian Plate in the subduction zone, over which Troodos was formed, ended the formation of new oceanic crust, detached the Troodos microplate and rotated it 90o anti-clockwise by the end of the sedimentation of the Kannaviou Formation (75-70 million years ago). What followed was the juxtaposition over and adjacent to the Troodos ophiolite, of older rocks belonging to the Mamonia Complex. This active tectonic period, of about 70 million years ago (Middle Maastrichtian), is observed in the bentonitic clays of the Kannaviou Formation which are strongly faulted and mixed with rocks of the Mamonia Complex and the Troodos ophiolites, particularly in southern, southwestern and southeastern Cyprus. This tectonic event didn’t affect the overlying sediments of the Upper Maastrichtian (67 million years).


After the collision of the Troodos ophiolite with the Mamonia Complex, a period of relative tectonic inactivity followed, characterized by pelagic sedimentation of chalks, cherts and marls of the Lefkara Formation. Some 22 million years ago, the marine basins around the Troodos ophiolite gradually became shallower, depositing chalks and marls of the Pachna Formation, while at the edges of the basins reefal limestones were deposited. At the upper stratigraphic units of the Pachna Formation, we observe a gradual increase in the clastic material content, which resulted to the deposition of calcarenites and conglomerates. The Troodos ophiolite emerged above sea level 10 million years ago.


Some 10 million years ago, the calcareous rocks of the Pentadaktylos Range moved southern, causing folding to all younger autochthonous formations. Later, due to Troodos continued uplift, the sea around Troodos became more and more shallow, favouring the localized development of coral patch reefs and the deposition of the reefal limestones of the Koronia Member, which are very rich in fossils such as bivalves, gastropods, echinoids and corals.


In the Upper Miocene, in small marine basins around the Troodos ophiolite, gypsum and gypsiferous marls of the Kalavasos Formation were deposited. This represents a significant event in the geological evolution of the Mediterranean, known as the “Messinian Salinity Crisis”. During that time, the relative movements of the African and Eurasian Plates provoked the closure of the Gibraltar straits and the isolation of the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. Evaporation exceeded the inflow of fresh river water into the Mediterranean basin, leading to a drop in sea level by several hundred meters below that of the Atlantic Ocean, and the creation of extensive salt lakes, in which gypsum and salt were deposited.


The reconnection of the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, with the opening of the Gibraltar Straits (5 million years ago), due to the relative motion between African and Eurasia Plate, resulted in the introduction of a new sedimentary cycle, which today is represented by marls, sandy marls and calcarenites of the Nicosia Formation.


In the Troodos Mountain the ophiolite rocks show an apparent topographic inversion, with the stratigraphically lower suites of rocks outcropping in the highest points of the range, while the stratigraphically upper rocks appear on the periphery of the ophiolite. This apparent stratigraphic inversion is related to the way the ophiolite was uplifted (diapirically) and subsequently exposed by differential erosion. The diapiric uplift of its core took place mainly with episodes of abrupt uplift up until the Pleistocene.


The uplift of Cyprus, combined with heavy rainfall during the Pleistocene period, resulted in extensive erosion of the mountain ranges, particularly that of Troodos but also of Pentadaktylos range, with the transport of large quantities of erosional material (gravels, sands and silts), which in turn were deposited in large river valleys and in the Mesaoria region, forming the Pleistocene sediments (Fanglomerate).


The geological environment of Cyprus is made distinct by the presence of the Troodos ophiolite. It constitutes a world-wide example of old oceanic crust rocks. This fact has attracted the interest of many international research and academic institutions. As a result, many important scientific findings have been published that support theories for the genesis and structure of the earth’s oceanic crust. The Troodos ophiolite, together with other autochthonous and allochthonous rocks in Cyprus, offers a setting for a field laboratory in understanding the geological evolution of the eastern Mediterranean.


Τhe Troodos area makes up a unique geological heritage site which, in addition to geology, offers archaeological, ecological, historical and cultural wealth and fulfils all the special characteristics to be established as the first geopark of Cyprus and become a member of the European Geopark Network. This geopark is expected to contribute to the economic development of the mountainous area enhancing the local tourism product.


Detailed geological mapping and published geological and thematic maps have been completed for a large part of the island. These maps record the geological characteristics and geological history of Cyprus. This knowledge forms the base for all geological research and applications relating to the land and sea territories.


Cyprus was already known from the 3rd millennium B.C. for its rich copper ores, the utilization of which has, inter alia, contributed to the economic growth and cultural advancement of its people. Apart from that, the name of the island is synonymous with copper (cuprum). The developed mining activity continued almost seamlessly until the years of British rule, resulting in the establishment of the Geological Survey Department in 1955.


This Department constitutes the national competent authority and the state councillor for geological matters, whose mission is to ensure the public interest via the identification, protection and exploitation of mineral and groundwater resources, investigation and evaluation of geological environment and geohazards, monitoring and assessment of seismicity, investigation of foundation conditions, protection and enhancement of sites of geological and mining heritage and producing and disseminating impartial geo-information to society. The Department’s competence is regulated by the geological surveys Law (Law 140(I)/2013), by which the execution of geological surveys in Cyprus is also regulated.

Veterinary Services

The Veterinary Services belong administratively to the Ministry of Environment and Agricultural Development and consist of Divisions and Sections. Two divisions function as the main administrative centres: The Animal Health and Welfare Division and the Veterinary Public Health Division. These divisions cover the entire spectrum of activities as provided for by the country’s legislation and are responsible for the development and implementation of the strategies to be followed. The Sections of Veterinary Laboratories and Veterinary Drugs and Supplies are also managed by the main administrative centre.


There are also five district veterinary offices in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaka, Famagusta and Pafos and five rural veterinary stations.


Division of Animal Health and Welfare


The primary responsibility of the Animal Health and Welfare Division (AHWD) is the prevention of the introduction and spreading into the country of animal diseases. Towards this end surveillance, control and eradication programs for certain diseases are planned and implemented.


Moreover, emergency schemes are prepared for the control of highly contagious diseases, which bring about serious socioeconomic consequences. As a result, all the farms in Cyprus have been registered and mapped. This division is also responsible for the registration and identification of animals. Within the framework of this responsibility a computer database is kept, where all the data regarding the identity of bovines, small ruminants, pigs and dogs, is stored. Through the Import of Animals and Trade Control Section, the AHWD coordinates and regulates issues related to the intercommunity trade and the operation of the two Border Inspection Posts (BIPs), one at Larnaka Airport and one at Limassol port, through which the veterinary checks for products of animal origin imported from third countries are applied according to the EU requirements.


Division of Veterinary Public Health


The Veterinary Public Health Division (VPHD) has the overall responsibility for the organization and the coordination of controls of production, handling, transport, storage and distribution of food of animal origin in the market and the responsibility for controls, inspections and approvals of the establishments that produce food of animal origin (including butcheries), with the exception of establishments producing ice-cream and honey, where the competence belongs in the Ministry of Health. Additionally, the management on a daily base of all information regarding Rapid Alert System for Food (RASFF) on behalf of the Veterinary Services and the preparation and implementation of the National Control Program for Residues and Pharmaceutical Substances in live animals and their products, give the ability to the VPHD, when a food incident arises, to take all the necessary measures immediately and effectively. In this way it ensures that none of the unsuitable food of animal origin is channeled into market. Equally vital is the role of Veterinary Public Health Division (VPHD) in coordinating trade within Member States (intra-community trade).


Furthermore, an important role of the VPHD is to ensure the protection and safety of public health.


Veterinary Laboratory Section


The Veterinary Services have two laboratories: The Laboratory for the Control of Food of Animals, which deals mainly with the control of food of animal origin, and the Laboratory for Animal Health, which covers the whole spectrum of laboratory examinations related to the diagnosis and surveillance of animal diseases. The latter includes five sections: virology, microbiology/serology, pathology/bacteriology /parasitology, histopathology and TSEs (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies). Both laboratories are accredited to EN ISO 17025.


Section of Veterinary Drugs and Products


This section, through the activities of its four subdivisions, has the responsibility for the control and inspection applied to manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of the Veterinary Medicinal Products (VMPs) –according to a quality system- and the control and inspection of medicated feeding stuffs. In addition, it coordinates the Pharmacovigilance System, the Assessment and Licensing of VMPs and the Harmonization of the National Legislation with the EU Directives/Regulations. These activities which implement the legal provisions ensure the quality, safety, efficacy of VMPs and the protection of animal and public health.


District Veterinary Offices and Rural Stations


The district veterinary offices and rural stations are responsible for the implementation of the policies, which are set out by the main administrative centres and operate under the surveillance of the Animal Health and Welfare Division, and the Veterinary Public Health Division.


Internal Audit


Implementation of the audit function is carried out using the guidance provided in Commission Decision EC No. 677/2006 and the mandatory requirements from Regulation (EC) No. 882/2004.


Education and Research


The Veterinary Services attach special importance to the continuous education of its staff and of the groups involved (farmers, owners of establishments where food of animal origin is handled etc). For this reason they organize annual education programs including seminars and workshops where international experts as well as officers from other countries are invited.


Additionally, the Veterinary Services also carry out research work within the framework of resource programs which are mainly funded by the Research Promotion Foundation, contributing in this way to the field of research.


For more details please refer to:

Mineral Wealth

The mining history of Cyprus is of great interest, because of the copper (cuprous) metal production, which goes back to 3.000 B.C.


Unfortunately the mining industry has been on the decline (practically non-existent) for the last three decades. The only mining activity is the Skouriotissa Copper Mine which produces copper cathodes of high purity.


There is extensive quarrying of rocks and industrial minerals in Cyprus. There are about 100 quarries which produce havara, sand and gravel, aggregates from diabase and limestone, building stone, limestone, clay and gypsum for local use and for export, as well as building  stone, gypsum, bentonite, umber and ochre for export.


Quick and hydrated lime as well as portland and other types of cement and gypsum plasters are also produced locally.


Concerning the prospecting of metals a great interest is shown for copper and precious metals, especially gold. There is also great interest from foreign companies for prospecting gypsum.


Every five years the important mining and quarrying operations are obliged to submit to the Mines Service a renewed environmental study taking into consideration the new conditions of the area being exploited.


Great concern is shown for the inspection of the working conditions (health and safety) in mines and quarries and related installations. The effort is to eliminate accidents and occupational diseases. The Pneumoconiosis Medical Board examines the people working in mining and quarrying every two years. The EU Directives 92/91/EEC and 92/104/EEC concerning the safety and health in the extractive industry also came into force when Cyprus joined the EU.


The construction products, which are produced from quarry operations, are checked and follow the relative standards. The Regulation (EU) No. 305/2011 concerning this matter is now in force.


The average annual production and exports of copper and quarrying materials are shown on the following tables in metric tons:


Average Annual Production


Copper                                                3.600

Aggregates                                         10.000.000

Filling materials                                250.000

Limestone for cement                      2.000.000

Clay for cement                                 450.000

Clay for bricks and tiles                  150.000

Building stone                                    15.000

Crude dimension stone                    50.000

Bentonite                                              180.000

Umber                                                   55.000

Marble                                                   2.000

Lime                                                      6.000

Gypsum                                                 320.000

Cement                                                 1.300.000


Average Annual Exports


Copper                                                  3.600

Umber                                                  4.000

Bentonite                                             160.000

Gypsum                                                240.000

Building stone                                    200

Cement and clinker                           500.000


The average annual income from the above exports is about 35 million euro.


For further information:


Mines Service website:


Tel.: 22 409283

Fax: 22 316872


Meteorological Service

Department of Meteorology


The Department of Meteorology is a Department of the Ministry of Agricultural, Rural Development and Environment, and handles issues concerning the weather and climate of Cyprus. The mission of the Department of Meteorology is to provide services and information about the weather and climate to all sectors of economic and social activity in Cyprus in this way contributing to the welfare of the people and protecting their lives and properties. For the achievement of these targets the Department of Meteorology collects and uses meteorological information in the territory of Cyprus and cooperates frequently and on a regular basis with other National Meteorological Services and with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).


The main objectives and activities of the Department of Meteorology are:

  • Operation of a Meteorological Station Network in the government controlled part of Cyprus for the collection of the necessary data to provide information for specific applications
  • Issuing daily weather bulletins for Cyprus and informing the public through the media (newspapers, radio and television)
  • Provision of meteorological services regarding weather forecasts, issuing warnings and other relevant information for the needs of civil aviation
  • Issuing special weather bulletins and warnings for the Cyprus sea area for marine needs and other relevant activities
  • Processing, classifying and publishing meteorological data
  • Publishing studies and reports on the weather and climate
  • Providing meteorological information and guidance for the needs of several sectors especially for agricultural applications, for development and management of water resources, for tourism and industry, for technical studies and constructions, for renewable energy sources and for environmental studies.


The Department of Meteorology is divided into four Sectors. The Sector of Climatology and Applications in Meteorology is responsible for the collection, quality control and statistical analysis of the meteorological data, the study of the Cyprus climate and the climate characteristics of several areas and the monitoring of climate change in Cyprus. The Synoptic and Aeronautical Sector is responsible for the provision of meteorological observations for aeronautical purposes, the general weather forecast, the weather forecast for the Cyprus sea area, the weather forecast for the eastern Mediterranean (Navtex), the local weather forecast, the preparation of upper air weather maps for aeronautical purposes, the airport weather forecast (TΑF), the forecast and preparation of warnings for the Cyprus FIR (SIGMETs), the weather forecast for agriculture and tourism and the issuing of warnings for extreme weather conditions.


The Sector of Station Technical Support is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Meteorological Stations Network in the government controlled part of Cyprus, for the maintenance and calibration of the Meteorological Instruments and for the preparation of the Public Procurements.


The Sector of Information Technology Support is responsible for the support of the computers and the office automation, for the network and internet administration, for the administration of the numerical weather prediction models, for the development and support of the database and for the support and development of the software.


For the achievement of all these needs, the Department of Meteorology runs its own forecasting models and operates a network of 143 rainfalls, 22 climatological, three synoptic and 40 automatic stations, one upper air station, 17 actinometric stations, two UV stations, one satellite station and two meteorological radars for replacing the old one situated in the area of Kykkos. The automatic stations have a telemetry system for the collection of the measurements and the input of the data in databases.


For further information:


Department of Meteorology website:

Land Consolidation

Land Consolidation as a key infrastructure project contributes to the amelioration of the various problems that are associated with agricultural holdings. These problems constitute an impediment to the rational and efficient development of agriculture both in Cyprus and in other countries of the European Union, but also all over the world.


In Cyprus, the implementation of land consolidation measures began in 1970, after enacting the Consolidation and Reallocation of Agricultural Land Law 24 (1969). Under the provisions of this Law, the various land tenure problems such as, the small size of agricultural holdings, the fragmented and dispersed land plots, the lack of access, the mixed land tenures (i.e. land held in undivided from and dual or multiple ownerships) and the irregular shape of land plots, are solved through the implementation of land consolidation measures, thus setting the right infrastructure for the rational development of agriculture.


At the same time, land consolidation constitutes a multilateral instrument that can be used for the promotion of rational, sustainable agricultural development and the creation and protection of areas of natural beauty and of cultural significance.


Basic Objectives


The basic objectives of land consolidation measures are the creation of economically viable holdings and the improvement of the defective land tenure structure.


For the accomplishment of these objectives, the Department proceeds mainly with the grouping of fragmented and scattered land ownerships into compact holdings, the construction of a new rural road network serving all new plots, the enlargement of small holdings by purchasing private, church and state land and distributing it, according to specific criteria to farmers, the creation of regularly-shaped plots of land, the elimination of dual and multiple ownerships and of ownerships held in undivided shares.


The Environmental Aspect of Land Consolidation


Land consolidation and reallocation measures applied to agricultural holdings, apart from improving the conditions of agricultural utilization, contribute to the protection of the environment, natural and structured, to the upgrade of the environment, to the safeguarding of the wild flora and fauna, to the protection of biotopes and to the protection of the cultural and physical features of the rural landscape.


The Consolidation and Reallocation of Agricultural Land Laws of the period 1969-2012, provide as from 1969 (when the Law was drafted) for the preparation, publication and implementation of landscape renovation and protection of the environment plans, within land consolidation areas.


Within land consolidation areas, particular attention is paid to the safeguarding of the endemic plants as well as the habitats of wild animals, to the protection of wild fauna habitat and the protection of areas of natural beauty and of ecologically significant areas. In every land consolidation area, perennial trees or significant rows of trees are protected through the transfer of their ownership rights to the State which undertakes also their cultivation needs. In addition, cultural/historical heritage areas (bridges, watermills, traditional fountains, stone-wells, threshing floors) are identified and protected, within land consolidation areas. In many land consolidation areas, churches or residues of Christian Temples, some of them dating from Byzantine period, have been spotted out and restored by the Land Consolidation Department, in collaboration with local Church Authorities and the Antiquities Department. Moreover, the surrounding area of these monuments has been put into shape.


Landscape Renovation Plans/Works


In many land consolidation areas, through landscape renovation and the protection of the environment plans, several parks and green spaces have been created. Trees and bushes have been planted, improved irrigation systems have been installed and stone-paths have been constructed, while benches, children’s games and stone-built fountains have been installed.


In all land consolidation areas, the trees/bushes that are planted are endemic to the area, while factors such of the prevailing altitude and the water requirements of plants are taken into account. Preference is given to rain-fed plants.


Environmental Impact Assessment Studies


As from 2005 and according to the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment of Certain Plans and/or Programs Law of 102 (I) 2005, the Land Consolidation Department prepares Environmental Impact Assessment Studies for every new land consolidation scheme. The aim of the Environmental Impact Assessment Study is to identify and assess the impact (negative or positive) that a land consolidation scheme can have on the environment, the landscape, the quality of life and of public health and in addition propose any alternative measures, where negative consequences for the environment are identified.


If the project is environmentally viable, then all the measures that should be taken for the protection of the environment are noted.


Moreover, at the stage of studying and drawing up the plan of new roads, water-courses, channels and other works, a Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment Study is carried out by the Land Consolidation Department, according to the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment of Certain Works Law (140 (I) /2005).


These studies aim to identify any environmental consequences from the construction of the rural road network and propose measures to be taken so as to ameliorate the consequences. Through the implementation of these studies, various important features of the natural and anthropogenic environment are identified and measures for their protection, in collaboration with other Government Departments and Services are recorded.


In cases where the rural road network traverses areas of special environmental significance, an Appropriated Assessment of the implications the road network is likely to have, is carried out.


Land Consolidation and Rural Development


Land consolidation and reallocation measures applied to agricultural lands improve the conditions of agricultural utilization as the following are achieved:

  • Provision of access to all the new consolidated plots
  • Increase in the number of economically viable holdings
  • Increase in the average size of agricultural land ownership
  • Agricultural utilization of distant, inaccessible and small holdings or plots
  • Availability of more agricultural land as plot boundaries are reduced
  • Better organization of agricultural units
  • Restructuring of cultivations
  • Mechanization of farm work


All the above lead to:

  • increased agricultural activity,
  • more efficiency,
  • increases in capital and labour productivity,
  • more economically viable holdings,
  • higher agricultural income.


No doubt, all these create the necessary prerequisites for the strengthening and further expansion of the agricultural sector of our country, which faces recession problems due to globalization phenomena. The rise in agricultural activities and the creation of the right preconditions and infrastructure achieved through the application of land consolidation schemes, can lead to a competitive agricultural sector. In consequence, land consolidation measures constitute an incentive for young farmers to resume farming activities with an impact leading thus to reduced in unemployment rates and the mitigation of urbanization.


Land Consolidation – Prospects


Land consolidation and reallocation measures applied to agricultural land ownership improve the conditions of agricultural utilization and set the basis for the rational development of agriculture. This is verified by the overall results obtained from the implementation of 78 land consolidation schemes, of a total area of about 18.444 hectares, from 1.970 onwards, when the first scheme started in Cyprus, up till now.


Land consolidation and reallocation measures contribute to the upgrade of the environment as landscape renovation and protection of the environment plans are prepared and implemented in every land consolidation area. Moreover through land consolidation implementation the rational exploitation of natural resources is safeguarded, while sustainable rural development is maintained. Thus, the implementation of land consolidation schemes should be further promoted for the further development of the agricultural sector and the countryside in general.


Moreover, the land consolidation scheme can be applied in many other domains apart from the agricultural sector, offering solutions to various land tenure problems and creating the prerequisites for the development and accomplishment of the, at each time set, economic, social and environmental targets. To this respect, land consolidation and reallocation measures can be implemented in other development zones/areas, which face similar land tenure problems to agricultural areas. In Cyprus, the Implementation of Consolidation, Management and Reallocation of Immovable Property in Development Zones/Areas of a non-agricultural nature, which similarly to agricultural areas face land tenure problems and cannot be rationally developed and managed, is promoted. A Draft Legislation concerning this issue has been approved by the Council of Ministers and has been sent to the Cyprus House of Representatives to be enacted into a Law. In addition, in areas where big projects such as highways, dams and airports are to be constructed, in designated environmentally protected areas, in areas where private ownerships are enclaved in state or forest land or in industrial zones that lack adequate infrastructure, land consolidation and reallocation measures can be implemented successfully. The experience from other European countries has proved that such applications are a must and yield remarkable results.


For further information:


Land Consolidation Department website:


Tel.: 22 407903, 22 407922

Fisheries – Marine Resources

The Department of Fisheries and Marine Research engages in a broad field of activities such as the sustainable use of marine resources, the development and sustainable management of aquaculture, marine ecology, the protection of endangered species and habitats and the prevention and combating of marine pollution.


During 2012, the annual production of fish from capture fisheries was about 1.302 tons valued at €8.5 million. The marine aquaculture production for the year 2012 was about 4.300 tons valued at €23 million. Fish production mainly derives from inshore fishery, bottom trawl fishery (territorial and international waters) polyvalent fishery and purse seiners as well as from aquaculture. During 2012, the Cyprus fishing fleet consisted of 461 small fishing vessels (artisanal small scale fisheries), seven bottom trawlers and 22 polyvalent vessels, fishing swordfish and tunas. These vessels are mainly berthed within the 16 fishing shelters under the jurisdiction of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research.


Regarding aquaculture, during 2012 there were in operation three marine fish hatcheries, one inland shrimp hatchery/grow-out unit and nine private offshore cage grow-out units culturing mainly sea bass and sea bream. Additionally, there were in operation seven small fresh water aquaculture units, culturing mainly rainbow trout and sturgeon.


Moreover, great importance is given to the protection of the marine biodiversity, endangered species and habitats, as well as the establishment of marine protected areas within the Natura 2000 network. Currently in Cyprus, there are six coastal/marine Ν2000 sites, hosting important habitat types and flora/fauna species of Directive 92/43/EEC. Among these, the coastal/marine protected area of Lara – Toxeftra includes the important breeding sites of two species of marine turtles, Chelonia mydas and Caretta caretta, and is protected since 1989 under the Fisheries Law. The Lara – Toxeftra protected area has been accepted and included in the SPAMI List, in the framework of the Protocol for the Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity in the Mediterranean of the Barcelona Convention. Furthermore, four additional Marine Protected Areas with Artificial Reefs (AR) are currently under development, in addition to the AR of Amathus.


For more information:




Tel: 22807807





Agriculture continues to be a vital sector of the economy of Cyprus, despite its gradual decrease due to the development of other sectors such as tourism and services, and the difficulties which have emerged as a result of the intensive competitive environment. Nowadays the importance of agriculture is not only defined by financial indicators, but also by the fact that it has a multi-functional role. In addition to the production of food, it contributes significantly to the preservation of the environment and provides the means for improving and protecting life in the countryside.


During the period 1960-1974, the agricultural sector expanded rapidly, but in 1974 it was discontinued by the Turkish invasion, which resulted in the occupation of 36,2% of the territory of Cyprus. More specifically, the Turkish forces occupied the area, which produced 46% of crop production and 79% of citrus, 68% of cereals, 100% of tobacco, 86% of carobs and 65% of green fodders. Also, 45% of livestock production was from this area.


Despite the obligatory concentration of the population in the less productive part of the island, it was possible through concerted efforts and heavy investment in land improvement and irrigation to reactivate the agricultural sector and to reach the pre-1974 production levels.


Contribution of the Primary Sector to the GDP and Employment


Agriculture and fisheries contributed 2,3% to GVA in 2012 and provided employment to 7,5% of the working population. Principal crops are potatoes, citrus, other vegetables, olives and grapes. Livestock farming is mainly in cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. Fish production derives from sea fishery (inshore and trawl fishery), marine aquaculture (fish, fry and shrimp) and island waters aquaculture (trout).


Agricultural Trade


Exports of raw agricultural products constituted 13,5% of total domestic exports in 2012.




The livestock sector contributes approximately 46% of the agricultural gross output and consists of dairy cattle, sheep and goats, swine and poultry. Dairy cattle, swine and poultry farms are relatively large units situated around urban areas, while sheep and goat farms are scattered throughout the country and are operating under semi-intensive or free farming systems. The development of livestock production has been given great attention, both quantitatively and qualitatively.


Agricultural and Rural Development


The main mission of the Department of Agriculture (DoA) is the development of the agricultural sector by enhancing training and technical services of farmers and the planning and implementation of developmental programs.


Thus, current programs aim not only in increasing the production but also in enhancing the quality and the competitiveness of agricultural products in local and international markets, as well as the better utilization of available resources and production factors. Special emphasis is given to the modernization of agricultural holdings and the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation.


To this extent the DoA seeks in boosting the knowledge, education and training of our rural world on the latest technological developments in the agricultural sector, as well as on issues of harmonization of Cyprus’ agriculture with the European acquis.


In the above context, the DoA is implementing the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013, while it promotes the implementation of the New Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is an ambitious project, aiming at revitalizing the rural economy of Cyprus, both in the short and long-term future.


Through the implementation of the terms of the Rural Development Programme, the development and improvement of the production is promoted, as well as the modernization of the production units and the creation of viable agricultural holdings with new goals, such as the improvement of the food quality and security, the protection of the environment and the landscape and the improvement of the quality of life in rural areas.


For further information and updates, please refer to:

Agricultural Research

Agricultural Research Institute


Since its establishment in 1962, the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) is engaged in agricultural research. It was founded in the framework of a cooperative project between the Government of Cyprus and the United Nations Special Fund, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as an executive Authority. It is a Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment and is supported by government funding. During the last years, it is also funded by many collaborating European research projects.


In the framework of the 5th EU Framework Project, the Agricultural Research Institute received a prestigious recognition of its contribution being selected as a “Centre of Excellence in Agriculture and Environment”. Through this Project, the ARI collaborates with European research centres and universities and ensured financial resources for the implementation of initiative research projects, as well as for the provision of education in an important number of postgraduate students and young researchers from universities and research centres of Europe.


ARI’s research programs aim at the solution of direct problems of plant and animal production and the best possible development of the island’s agricultural potentials. The ARI is organized in the Departments of Plant Improvement, Vegetables/Ornamentals, Fruit Trees/Viticulture, Animal Production, Soil Science, Plant Protection, Rural Development and Agrobiotechnology. The Department of Agrobiotechnology includes the Central Chemistry Laboratory, which conducts research activities and provides analytical support services to the other Departments. The Institute has well equipped specialized laboratories, including radioisotope and molecular biology laboratories, cold storage facilities, the National Gene Bank, the National Herbarium and a library, which receives many of the leading agricultural journals.


The Institute has an experimental farm at Athalassa where the livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats) is kept, and outstations at Akheleia and Zygi for citrus, flowers, vegetables and field crops, at Saittas for deciduous fruits and at Xylotympou and Polis for citrus, vegetables and cereal breeding. Additional experimentation is also undertaken at farmers’ fields.


Research results are preferentially published in international journals or in ARI´s publications series. At the same time, research results are also given to various governmental departments, and mainly to the Department of Agriculture, which is the competent Department for the training of farmers.


The ARI is the National Focal Point for FAO projects related to conservation and utilization of plant and animal Genetic Resources in agriculture. In 2002, a Centre of Variety Examination and Registration was established at the Institute, in accordance with the provisions of the new Law on seeds and in line with EU regulations. In 2004, the Farm Accountancy Data Network, a conventional commitment of Cyprus to the EU, was established. The aim of FADN is to collect and submit to the EU complete sets of input-output data from farmers, which assist the EU to modify and adapt its current agricultural policy. In addition, the Institute is the national AGRIS Centre collecting, cataloguing and indexing the agricultural literature published in Cyprus, and the national CARIS Centre collating information on ongoing research. This information is given to FAO for inclusion in the global AGRIS and CARIS databases. The Institute cooperates with many international and regional organizations, such as FAO, IAEA, ICARDA, IPGRI, etc., and a number of other national research organizations and institutions mainly in the European Union countries.


For more details and updates:


Agricultural Research Institute website:


Tel.: 22403110 / 22403232

Fax: 22316770


Agricultural Insurance Organisation

Established in 1978, the Agricultural Insurance Organization (AIO) is a semi-government entity, under state supervision, exercised by the Minister of Environment and Agricultural Development. It offers compulsory insurance to farmers and indemnifies them in the case of losses from inevitable natural hazards which are included in the scheme in this way stabilising their income.


The Agricultural Insurance Scheme covers today a huge spectrum of products which includes deciduous fruits, citrus, grapes, potatoes, cereals, dry fodder, artichokes, loquats and dry beans, while the main hazards are hail and frost with the addition of some product-specific ones such as heat-wave in grapes, drought in cereals and waterspot in citrus.


The farmer´s participation in the scheme is currently compulsory and represents the solidarity between them, which is a basic principle of the scheme. Farmers have to pay an annual premium in the range of 2.5% to 5%, depending on the crop. An equal amount is added through the government subsidy.


The Organization targets the incorporation of the whole crop production into its insurance scheme, including at the same time additional hazards. A continuous monitoring of the crops’ performance in the scheme determines the changes needed in order to provide the farmers with a comprehensive scheme offering them the support necessary, and enabling them to maintain their farming activities in case severe damages affect their yield.


For more information:


Agricultural Insurance Organization website:

Savvas Hadjimichael, Agricultural Insurance Officer

Tel.: 22760482

Fax: 22768300