Advanced aquatic tools for sustainable pollution risk management in river basins of Cyprus

Project Details


AdAqua (Advanced aquatic tools for sustainable pollution risk management in river basins of Cyprus) was a collaborative project between a consortium of water scientists, providers, developers and conservationists, designed to improve pollution risk management in Cyprus.

It represented an innovative multi-disciplinary approach to the provisions of new environmental management tool that would support the River Basin Management Plan of Cyprus.

AdAqua was designed to provide Cypriot stakeholders and end-users with practical environmental tools to support the prediction and management of river water pollution problems in Cyprus. This was done through the ground-truthing and integration of appropriate newly-emerging ecological, microbiological and hydrological methods into an environmental and human health protection instrument.

AdAqua aimed:
• to develop and disseminate ecological assessments of the pilot watersheds, focusing on benthic macroinvertebrate communities and their response to environmental stresses;
• to develop and disseminate microbial source tracking (MST) assessments to distinguish sources of faecal pollution in response to environmental stresses
• to build and disseminate responsive watershed pollution hazard maps, integrating the above approaches to land-use and hydrological information.

It was funded by the Research Promotion Foundation (supported by the Structural Funds of the European Union) under the framework programme for Research, Technological Development and Innovation 2009-2010.


The consortium provided a sound scientific basis for achieving its objective by assembling a consortium with the specific expert knowledge essential to the development of the environmental tools that underpin this project. Additionally, the principal end-user of the tools and protocols (the Water Development Department) was an active partner in the project, and provided expert knowledge and local data to support the watershed pilot studies.

The involvement of the Cyprus Environmental Studies Centre (under Terra Cypria) provided staff with experience of riverine sampling and analysis. Through its field study teaching activities, it actively supported the dissemination and exploitation of the Adaqua activities and outcomes to younger Cypriots.

State General Laboratory - Host Organisation

George Papageorgiou
Nikolas Pissarides
Katerina Antoniou
Georgia Christofi

Terra Cypria - The Cyprus Conservation Foundation

Nicholas Symons
Athina Papatheodoulou
Michael Rafel Proteriotis

University of Brighton

Professor Huw Taylor
Dr James Ebdon

Water Development Department

Gerald Dorflinger
Iakovos Tziortzis

Key findings

AdAqua's international multi-disciplinary team provided for the two pilot watersheds of Limnatis and Garyllis and made a significant contribution to the sustainable management of water resources in Cyprus by helping to protect against further river water quality reduction.

This included:

· Ecological assessment focusing on benthic macroinvertebrates communities and their response to various environmental stresses.
· Quantitative microbial source tracking (QMST) assessment to distinguish sources of faecal pollution in the pilot watersheds, again in response to environmental stresses.
· Pollution hazard map integrating the above approaches with land-use and hydrological information.

In order to identify the source of faecal pollution in the water bodies, the ‘phage-lysis’ method of quantitative microbial source tracking (QMST) was applied to the pilot watersheds. The microbiological expertise of the Cyprus State General Laboratory and the University of Brighton allowed existing source-specific bacterial marker strains to be tested in the Cypriot watersheds, and new local source-specific markers to be developed. In addition, standard faecal indicator levels (Escherichia coli, intestinal enterococci and coliphages) and flow data were combined in order to calculate faecal budgets in the watersheds.

The project supported Cypriot stakeholders, end-users and decision-makers to develop a sustainable River Basin Management Plan for the surface waters in Cyprus, as required under the European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD). It also provided a basis for more rational risk prediction, and a strategic response to climate change, agricultural and wastewater pollution issues. Additionally, it informed the development of a ‘Drinking Water Safety Plan’ approach to the sustainable provision of clean drinking water in Cyprus.

Effective knowledge transfer was key to the success of AdAqua. A comprehensive literature review of the island’s river water quality management was published to include the achievements of previous strategies and policies, and the nature of specific knowledge gaps that had acted as barriers to a better understanding of Cypriot river water quality dynamics.

Watershed Hazard Maps (WHM) were developed to portray the existing impact of point and non-point pollution discharges that may have required immediate mitigation measures, and to provide a framework for an early-warning system to target and minimize the impact of future water pollution dynamics. It was fundamental to the project that the outcomes were transferrable to other watersheds of Cyprus, in order to evaluate key unknowns which were preventing compliance with the Water Framework Directive.

Project results were disseminated through seminars, as well as supporting a variety of stimulating learning activities for students.
Effective start/end date1/06/1130/06/13


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