|The Department commenced its operation in 1896 as a Branch of the Public Works Department and it was competent in the fields of irrigation and drinking water. In 1939 it became a separate Department called “Department of Water Supply and Irrigation” and in 1954 its name was changed to “Water Development Department”, the name that it retains to date.|
Upon the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, the Department came under the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment. It was gradually re-organised in various Services and in addition, five District Offices were set up in Nicosia, Limassol, Paphos, Larnaca and Famagusta. The purpose of re-organisation was the effective implementation of the water policy of the newly established Cypriot State. This structure is still in force today.
Due to the great division of duties pertaining to water development and management and because of the existence of a composite legal framework, the relevant actions were faced with a great level of bureaucracy and ineffectiveness. Therefore, a need emerged to review the legislation and concentrate most of the duties in a single body that would work towards an integrated management of the water resources of the country. Due to legal obstacles, the idea to create an Integrated Water Body was not finalised. Instead of that, in 2010, the Integrated Water Management Law (79(Ι)/2010) was enacted, to consolidate all previous legislation on water.
The new law confers most of the duties in relation to the development and management of water at a national level upon the Water Development Department. Also, the operation of the Advisory Water Management Committee (AWMC) is also set up, composed of state services, public utility organisations, organised vocational groups and organised water user organisations. The AWMC is competent to study policy proposals put before it by the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment and submit its views to the Minister and the Council of Ministers prior to decision making.
You may find more historical information in relation to water development and management in the country in the Section under same title, under “Brief historical background”.