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Water management, policies and legislation related to water use in agriculture

The Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment is responsible, through a number of departments, for water resources assessment and development. The Water Development Department (WDD) assesses the surface water resources (groundwater resources are assessed by the Geological Survey Department), plans the water development projects, develops the engineering studies (including civil works needed) and operates and maintains these projects. Project construction is usually subcontracted to the private sector, following bids. The WDD also has the responsibility of recommending plans to government for the allocation of water resources as well as water rates. For irrigation purposes the water rates cannot legally exceed 40% (65% in exceptional cases) of the average total cost of water provision, including capital expenditure as well as operation and maintenance expenditures (for domestic and industrial water supply the full costs are recovered). The Department of Agriculture has the overall responsibility for improved irrigation practices at farm level and the Agricultural Research Institute is involved in all aspects of applied research with regard to irrigation methods, application rates etc.

The Ministry of the Interior also plays a key role. It is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of all water related laws, as well as the issuing of groundwater permits and the registration of water rights. Officers of the Ministry of the Interior also act as Chairpersons of District Water Boards (for domestic water supply) and for the Irrigation Divisions. The Ministry is also involved in the Sewage Boards that manage the sewage systems of the largest towns. The Ministries of Agriculture and of the Interior work closely and coordinate all aspects of water development and utilization.

The main laws concerned with irrigation date back to before to independence in 1961, and include the Government Water Works Law (Cap 341 of 1928) which provides for the control of water and the construction of water works by the government; the Wells Law (Cap 351 of 1946) which covers the installation of wells and their related water rights, and the Irrigation Divisions (Cap 342 of 1938) which regulates the formation of Irrigation Divisions and their operation. The Laws, in general, function effectively and, in the case of the Water Laws, cover all aspects of water development as well as interactions between government and users. All land in Cyprus is registered and owners have deeds or certificates of ownership.


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       Quote as: FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT website. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].
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