07:40 GMT25 February 2020
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    Drought-hit Cyprus may import drinking water

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    Cyprus could begin importing drinking water to offset the effects of a crippling drought, its agriculture minister said on Wednesday in a newspaper interview.

    ATHENS, January 9 (RIA Novosti) - Cyprus could begin importing drinking water to offset the effects of a crippling drought, its agriculture minister said on Wednesday in a newspaper interview.

    "The government is closely studying the possibility of importing drinking water," Photis Photiou said.

    In 1998, when a severe drought hit the Mediterranean island, Cyprus agreed with Greek authorities to ship in drinking water from Greece in tankers, but the project was abandoned as overly expensive.

    Greece, Egypt and Lebanon are among the would-be importers of drinking water to Cyprus.

    According to the ministry, as of January 1, 2008, the country's water reservoirs contained 25 million cubic meters of water, enough to last approximately two months. The current acute water shortage is said to have been caused by climate change, with rainfall in Cyprus dropping almost 20% in the last 35 years.

    In December 2007, the Orthodox Church of Cyprus ordered a special 'pray for rain' service.

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