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25-10-2023 13:24

Address by the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Maria Panayiotou, at the workshop “Addressing water scarcity through circularity: the WATER-MINING project”

It is my great pleasure and honour to stand before you today as the Environmental Commissioner of Cyprus, at this pivotal workshop focused on "Addressing water scarcity through circularity: the WATER-MINING project". I extend a warm welcome to each one of you to this esteemed assembly. Your presence here today signifies your dedication to the advancement of sustainable water management and our collective fight against water scarcity, and I thank you for your strong dedication.

As we gather here today, we must recognise the urgency of the global water crisis. Water scarcity, intensified by climate change and increased demand, presents a profound challenge, with consequences for our ecosystems, economies, and communities. The need for innovation, collaboration, and holistic solutions is crucial. Only through combined efforts, shared insights, and a unified vision can we hope to create a future where water is abundant and accessible for all.

Cyprus, as a nation dedicated to environmental stewardship, recognises the crucial role of integrating sustainable practices in addressing water scarcity and promoting circularity. We understand that innovative water management techniques and technologies are essential in minimising our environmental impact, reducing waste, and championing circular water economies. As such, we are deeply committed to nurturing innovation, endorsing research and development, and advancing sustainable solutions in this field.

Within this context, the Office of the Commissioner for the Environment, in cooperation with the Department of Forests, launched, in June 2023, the project “Holistic Water Management in the National Forest Park of the Pedagogical Academy”. This joint initiative will lead to the installation of a permanent irrigation system to supply water to the park's trees. This action aims to showcase the National Forest Park of the Pedagogical Academy as a model park in terms of water management. It is the first park of this size where such a project will be implemented. Additionally, it touches upon aspects related to the use of modern technology (through the creation of a 'smart irrigation system'), circular economy, environmental education of students, public awareness, and information. It is a progressive initiative that will serve as a catalyst for rational water management in other parks and green spaces. The project is expected to be completed by December 2024, and its cost is estimated at €225,000.

Today's workshop represents a unique chance for us to unite, exchanging knowledge, sharing effective strategies, and exploring pioneering research on addressing water scarcity through circularity. This is a platform for discussion, teamwork, and the spread of innovative ideas. Let's seize this moment to establish collaborations, deepen our shared insights, and set a path towards a sustainable water future.

Let us remember that our actions as professionals and researchers have a significant impact in shaping the future of our water resources and the well-being of our planet. By adopting sustainable water management and circularity practices, we can contribute to addressing water scarcity, safeguarding aquatic ecosystems, and ensuring the resilience of our environment for generations to come. Together, we can pave the way for a future where water sustainability is at the forefront and where the principles of environmental responsibility guide every step we take.

Once again, I extend my heartfelt welcome to all participants of this pivotal workshop on "Addressing water scarcity through circularity: the WATER-MINING project". May this gathering serve as a beacon of inspiration, fostering collaboration, and driving transformative solutions. I am truly grateful for your presence, and eagerly anticipate the insightful dialogues, valuable partnerships, and the progress we will make together during this event.