island of Cyprus has numerous aquifers, which provide water to
its inhabitants for domestic use and irrigation through springs,
wells and boreholes. The formation of these aquifers has
resulted from a combination of geological factors and processes
throughout the geological evolution of the island. Permeable
formations, which nowadays constitute aquifers, were formed at
various geological times from the Permian to the present.
However, the most decisive geological events responsible for the
present day situation appear to have taken place during the
Pleistocene epoch, with the uplift of Cyprus and the formation
of the island as we know it today. During this epoch, intense
erosion of the uplifted masses of Troodos and Pentadaktylos
produced thick accumulations of arenaceous deposits in the
Mesaoria region and elsewhere, which now make important aquifers.
Many older permeable formations were lifted above sea level and
progressively became aquiferous through various geological
processes, including serpentinisation, fracturing and solution.
Tertiary sandstones and calcarenites and older limestones have
been exploited for hundreds of years. The ancient city of
Salamis obtained its water from Kythrea by means of an aqueduct
40 km long. The chains of wells and aqueducts constructed in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries for the water supply of
Nicosia and Larnaca are also quite well known.
first scientific study of the aquifers of Cyprus was initiated
by the British in the late 19th century and the first
drilling was carried out at the beginning of the 20th
century. Ever since, thousands of boreholes have been drilled
and all of the aquifers of Cyprus have been exploited
intensively, in particular during the second half of the 20th
century. A milestone in the study of the aquifers of Cyprus can
be considered in the work carried out by the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) between 1963 and 1969. Work carried
out by the government and in particular by the Geological Survey
and Water Development Departments has also been quite
significant. Between 1996 and 1999, the General Directorate of
the Mineral Research Institute of Turkey worked on the aquifers
in the northern part of Cyprus, drilling new boreholes for
potable water supply from the Kyrenia Range and the Morphou
aquifer and at other regions, which had been studied for
determining other additional groundwater resources.
Cyprus has been suffering from water problems due to the irregular rainfall conditions since ancient times. As we know from the “Machera Chronicle”, the lack of water caused problems such as inadequate cultivation conditions while long drought periods forced the island’s people to immigrate to neighbouring countries. Between 1932–1935, 1940–1948 and especially in the 1970s and beginning of the 1990s, the country suffered terrible periods of drought.