Project Overview



Project title:

Strengthening the scientific foundation of water quality programs

Project Number:

LIFE08 ENV / CY / 000460

Project Location:


Project Start Date: 01/02/2010
Project end Date:                    01/08/2013
Total budget: € 829.775,00
EC contribution:        € 407.920,00
(%) of eligible costs: 49.76
Name Beneficiary:

Department of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment

Project objectives:  


The overall goal of the project is to strengthen the scientific foundation of water management programmes, including criteria development for pollutants of high potential impact on environmental quality and biodiversity. As such the project will establish and demonstrate an innovative set of methods and tools for the design and implementation of programmes for the preservation of high environmental quality and good ecological status of water bodies. In particular the proposed tools will increase the scientific basis for constructing, communicating and evaluating water management plans and measures. Further the project will help to establish Policy, Scientific and Technical integration between programmes for the development of water quality standards and criteria and regulations relevant to pollution prevention such as the issuance of emission permits and implementation of EIAs. 

In summary, key elements of the project are the following:

  • Introduces carrying capacity considerations in water quality management planning. Carrying capacity assessments will be driven by a set of water quality criteria that will aim to ensure good ecological status and high environmental quality and to maintain the water body functions.
  • Facilitates water management decisions through scientifically verified maximum allowed pollutant load
  • Facilitates the allocation of allowable pollutant loads through a well verified and transparent scientific process
  • The project will build a dynamic water quality management system that will facilitate the continuous monitoring and updating of water quality plans and measures
  • Specific target of the project is the preparation of a quality management plan for the Larnaca Salt Lake 

The major technical objective of the project is to establish and implement detailed, distributed dynamic simulation models in terms of a dynamic water budget, resulting from the natural climate driven hydrological cycle, anthropogenic demand, and allocations, resulting in criteria of water availability and quality. BASINS4 and associated models (HSPF, Aquatox, etc) will be used fro this purpose in conjunction with ARCVIEW/ ARCGIS. It is noted that a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant (MCIRG) funded under the Framework Programme 7 (FP7) is currently in progress and implemented by ATLANTIS Consulting, and its main objective is to make the necessary adjustments establish the capacities and know-how for implementing the said software. The present project will utilise and build on the results of this research project in order to establish the capacity for modeling, scenario analysis, TMDL development and BMP development at river basin scales. 

The demonstration of the proposed Tools and Methods in order to facilitate their widest possible future application constitute an important objective of the project. The Demonstration Action will involve the full implementation of the developed tools at the Kalo Horio catchment basin, which includes the very ecologically important Larnaca Salt lakes. This action is considered vital for promoting the extensive use of the proposed Tools not only in Cyprus but throughout the European Union. The use of the Larnaca Salt Lakes serves two functions. Firstly, the project will produce a robust realistic management scenario for the area thus helping to preserve the functions this very important but highly threatened ecosystem. Secondly, the importance of the area and its status as a Natura 2000, IBA and Ramsar site will invite widespread interest in the project results and thus will contribute to making the demonstration and dissemination activities more effective. 

The project will produce concrete, realistic, and quantified measures and proposed actions that should be implemented for the preservation of existing functions and the good ecological status of the Kalo Horio Basin and Larnaca Salt Lakes. These will be published and presented in a "Primer on Kalo Horio Water Management for Water Resource Managers". Increasingly complex regulatory requirements and socioeconomic issues, including the costs and benefits of water resources, will be incorporated in the decision making process. Further, a robust Stakeholder Consultation Process combined with the Development of an Optimisation Decision Support Methodology, will be applied towards optimising the allocation of water resources and maximising the efficiency and effectiveness of water management measures through the prioritisation of measures. To this end the project has defined the following specific objectives.

  • Identify and describe the project area ecological and other functions
  • To identify, describe and quantify human induced and naturally occurring pressures
  • Define the environmental conditions that are required to ensure good ecological status of water bodies within the Kalo Horio catchment. This will include the description of these conditions through a set of measurable indicators and the determination of criteria values for the selected indicators.
  • Develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for maintaining the desired water and ecological quality criteria through the implementation of the BASINS Tools for modeling pressure-response scenarios for the selected key pollutants / indicators.
  • Produce and implement management scenarios for water management policies and measures at river basin level in order to select / design measures that ensure that the defined criteria (TMDLs) are met.
  • Implement a Stakeholder Consultation process for specifying water management requirements and constraints.
  • Test and prioritise Management Options through an optimisation methodology. Prioritisation will be based on constraints and requirements as well as the scientifically derived criteria described through the TMDLs. Management recommendations will be documented through a "Primer on Kalo Horio Water Management". 

Emphasis will be given to producing innovative mitigation methods and adaptation strategies targeting to increase the robustness and to exploit the resilience of river basins. 

Actions and means involved:
The central tool in the proposed methodology is a combination of innovative scenario analysis and modeling and decision support tools integrated with a quantitative assessment of the condition of and stresses on water resources.
River basins in the project are to be treated as the central unit of analysis and management. In particular, the project will implement detailed, distributed dynamic simulation models in terms of a dynamic water budget, resulting from the natural climate driven hydrological cycle, anthropogenic demand, and allocations, resulting in criteria of water availability and quality. BASINS and associated models (HSPF, Aquatox, etc) will be used. It is noted that a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant (MCIRG) funded under the Framework Programme 7 (FP7) is currently in progress and implemented by ATLANTIS Consulting, and its main objective is to make the necessary adjustments establish the capacities and know-how for implementing the said software.
A key deliverable of the project will be a set of management measures and BPMs. Their assessment and selection will be guided by a water quality management optimisation methodology. This tool will be developed initially in spreadsheet format. Should calculation intensity prove to be exceeding spreadsheet capacities, however, the tool will be transposed to more specialised databases such as CPLEX or What's Best!. 

Quantitative pollutant release criteria for ensuring water quality Integrating TMDLs and a requirements/ constraints matrix will yield a robust scientific basis for constructing water quality management measures. Involving major actors and stakeholders throughout this process will yield socially acceptable solutions. 

Water quality management goal-setting will be driven by a robust stakeholder participation methodology which will ensure that key requirements and constraints are identified and incorporated in the decision making process. 

Water quality criteria will be defined through a Functions Analysis. This action aims to identify and quantify the ecological, hydrological and socioeconomic functions that the Kalo Horio Basin supports. For this purpose, existing information and studies from competent authorities, land use data and maps will initially be collected and analysed. Subsequently, indicators for the assessment of the system to support the identified functions will be selected. Lastly criteria values for the indicators will be determined through the bibliography and the regulatory requirements that are laid out by the Water Framework Directive as well as other relevant laws and directives. The project team will also organise a round table discussion where local experts on the field will be invited to contribute with reviews of project results and suggestions. 

Among others, the project will utilize the results of the LIFE Nature COMANACY Project (2004), the latest biodiversity database (Biocyprus) and the EIA study for the Larnaca storm water system in the Kamares area as well as various studies undertaken by the Fisheries Department and the Water Development Department. Site surveys and mapping through GPS and remote sensing will be used if necessary. Catchment modeling and analysis will be carried out mainly through the collection and compilation of previous studies and data. Land use analysis will be based on land use maps as well as data and maps on hydrology, effluent discharge permits and agricultural and farming activity. Remote sensing methods will also be used if deemed necessary. Limited site surveys and mapping via GPS are also foreseen. 

Expected results (outputs and quantified achievements):

  • Catchment scale water resources modeling and decision support tools (Computer hardware and software will be established at the premises of the Cyprus Department of Environment.
  • Water Management Tools System Guide
  • Water quality and environmental assessment indicators for the Kalo Horio Basin. A set of between 20 – 30 indicators will be developed. The final number will depend on the significant functions of the area that will be identified and incorporated in the system.
  • A PRTR-driven geo-spatial pollutant sources database will be developed. It is foreseen that in the order or 1000 pollutant sites will be incorporated in the system. QuickBird satellite imagery or orthophotography will be utilised where needed.
  • A set of TMDLs, BMPs for the Kalo Horio / Larnaca Salt lake basin. It is foreseen that TMDLs and MBPs for 5 pollutants will be developed tested and verified.
  • Primer on Kalo Horio Water Management for Water Resource Managers".
  • Training and hands on experience of personnel from the Department of Environment and other Government Departments competent in water management. It is foreseen that Up to 10 people will be trained. Training will be distributed in three sessions throughout the project. Foreseen raining sessions total 72 hours of training but complementary training will be undertaken if deemed necessary. A total of 3000 hours of Tools hands experience on implementation is expected throughout the project. 

Strategic level results include the following:

Filling major gaps in management measures in order to achieve critical environmental results. For example, specific water quality criteria will be defined for critical pollutants for the preservation of the kalo Horio Key environmental functions. In particular four pollutant types will be targeted (sedimentation, pathogens, heavy metals and nutrients) that are considered potentially threatening to the Salt lake Ecosystem). Minimum water quantity requirements will also be defined. . 

Strengthening and maintaining the scientific foundation of water quality protection measures. The implemented Tools will provide the capacity to make integrated assessments of the impact of policies such as industrial and agricultural pollution control through the implementation of IPPC, SEA, EIA and Effluent Discharge Permit regulations. 

Provide training, experience and know-how on how to implement key scientific and technical components of water quality management.
Facilitate stakeholder participation in the decision making process for water quality management. 

Increase and consolidation of the knowledge base on water resources management in Cyprus by performing: a) collection, compilation, integration of quantified data currently dispersed throughout several government departments, b) Identification of current quantitative demands pertaining from regulatory requirements but also based on a functions analysis of the Kalo Horio Catchment.

The project will be monitored through the monitoring mechanisms described in Action 9. In response specifically to the monitoring of the project effectiveness, the following indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of the specific goals of the project with respect to the Larnaca Salt Lakes are proposed:

  • Presence of pollutant allocations and their level of acceptance by stakeholders
  • The presence of comprehensive and coherent results from the optimization Task of the study
  • Degree of acceptance of TMDLS by stakeholders
  • Degree of acceptance of BMPs by stakeholders
  • The comprehensiveness of the functions analysis, which can be measured through the conformance to procedural and technical parameters, can be used as a measure of the quality of the undertaken work. Such parameters include the degree of involvement of stakeholders, the level of acceptance of conclusions by stakeholders, and the scientific verification of water allocation assumptions.
  • Presence and general acceptance of water quality criteria determined for the study area