Water – Energy – Waste management
The Cyclades face a problem of water scarcity and lack of water reserves. However, the problem is not only related to quantity but also to the poor and incomplete management of what reserves there are.
The area is characterized by very limited surface water resources, irresponsible groundwater wastage (the major problem from uncontrolled private drilling), the risk of groundwater subsoil and very little development in infrastructure, either due to poor administration or due to delay, bureaucracy or lack of political will.
Additionally, the Cycladic islands still rely heavily on diesel to generate electricity, a fuel that is high cost and which has significant negative impacts on emissions. This has negative implications for the competitiveness of local businesses, and on the economy where frequent administrative measures and financial aid are required to mitigate the high cost of electricity for local consumers. The seasonal demand from tourism puts a strain on the development of natural resources and on local infrastructure. On the other hand, the vast energy potential of natural sources could provide low-cost solutions to many of the key issues facing the Cycladic Islands, such as water scarcity and climate change.
Furthermore, increased tourist traffic results in a corresponding increase in the solid waste produced by the island population. The fact that waste comes mainly from tourist activity has two distinct causes. The first is the unequal distribution of waste streams, where twice as much flow is recorded in the summer than in the winter. This fact makes it difficult to design appropriate infrastructure. The second is the percentage change in the type of waste, where packaging materials (beverage cans, water bottles, etc.) are particularly high during tourist season, which in fact could be exploited for the benefit of recycling. Unfortunately, the level of waste management in the region is not at all satisfactory. Recycling only concerns paper, and where private initiatives have been taken by groups of active citizens, they did not have the support of local actors.