In December 2022, a beautiful project undertaken by the Mitato of Amorgos, in collaboration with “Nissos Amorgos” – Association for the Environment and Culture, was completed. “The History of Water” involved the restoration of the water tank in the area “Chorio”, outside the village of Langada on Amorgos Island. The works gave the organisers the opportunity to address water management issues through lectures presented to the public but also through talks and a visit to the work site by the pupils of the Vocational High School of Amorgos.

The project was inspired by the challenging issues concerning water management on islands such as Amorgos, in the Cyclades cluster, Greece. Traditional methods of collecting and distributing this precious resource have been widely neglected or even abandoned, giving way to non-sustainable solutions necessary for the current development of the islands. Although we cannot deny the fact that traditional systems are inadequate for the enormous needs and pressure existing nowadays, it is true that in extreme environments, every source counts and should not be ignored. It is also true that by returning to the traditional, sustainable management practices used in the past, there is a wealth of knowledge and appreciation to be gained, in order to raise awareness among residents and visitors alike in regards to the use of water.

The site of the water tank that was chosen to be restored hosts one of the traditional “springs” of Langada, where rainwater drained through the rocks is naturally collected and used to serve as the main fresh water source of the village until the 1970s.Apart from the restoration of the tank and its return to use, “The History of Water” also involved the construction of sustaining stone walls in its vicinity, in order to sustain the soil and prevent further erosion, as well as the creation of a dry stone paved area in front of the tank. An awareness campaign and education regarding sustainable water management and traditional systems were also launched in the scope of the project.

THE WORKS:

The following works were completed in the framework of “The History of Water”:

  • Clearing of the area - clearing of vegetation, removal of stones and soil covering the site, emptying of the tank and storage of the water collected in nearby wells.
  • Restoration of the water tank interior – enhancement of existing waterproofing material and addition of new layers of sand, cement and whitewash.
  • Restoration of water tank roof - steel and cement reinforcement.
  • Restoration of water tank exterior – enhancement of existing mortar and waterproofing using a mix of sand, cement and whitewash.
  • Removal of old, redundant pipes..
  • Installation of new pipes - 1 pipe leading to the drain in case of future restoration and/or clearing; 1 supply pipe in case of future connection of the tank to a wider network; 1 pipe for the overflow, incorporated in the restored exterior mortar; 1 main drainage pipe, leading overflow, clearing tank and rainwater drainage, after being collected to the drain, to the basin continuing naturally downstream.
  • Installation of taps and valves 2 taps for direct access and use of the tank water and 2 valves for the drainage and supply pipes. A trough existing at the site was relocated under one of the taps.
  • Installation of new cement cover above the drain.
  • Installation of new lid incorporated in the tank roof.
  • Construction of dry stone walls21 m of walls of 0.50-0.55 m thickness.
  • Construction of new stone pavement,with a surface of 13 m2 approximately, at the front of the water tank.

Construction works were realised by the team of builder Antonios Vlavianos, while the hydraulic works were realised by the team of plumber Leonidas Theologitis.

BEFORE - AFTER
AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

On Saturday 5 November 2022, an evening event, open to the public, was held at the main hall of the Elementary School of Aegiali. Three lectures were presented:

On Tuesday 29 November 2022, the students of the Agricultural speciality of the Vocational High School of Amorgos visited the site and were introduced to the philosophy and practical aspects of traditional water management systems and their importance today. The talks were led by the project main contractor Mr Antonios Vlavianos, the engineer Mr Frederikos Krossman-Nassiopoulos and the Mitato of Amorgos representative Ms Semeli Drymoniti.

On Thursday 15 December 2022, Ms Semeli Drymoniti and Mr Frederikos Krossman-Nassiopoulos visited the Vocational High School of Amorgos and presented the completed works to all pupils of the school, as well as their teachers. Mr Krossman-Nassiopoulos, a civil engineer specialized in hydraulic works, having completed his thesis on the water supply network of Amorgos, linked the project of “The History of Water” to the general comprehension of water resource management on the island, comparing traditional approaches to current methods. The presentation gave us the opportunity to consider the effectiveness of all techniques, the value of water in barren areas such as our islands and the need to always combine resource exploitation with conservative use and ways to save water.

The restoration of the tank and the awareness campaign were realised with a grant from Costas M. Lemos Foundation, through the program “Points of Support”  , which is financed by eight foundations. The restoration of the area surrounding the tank, including the construction of sustaining stone walls and a dry stone paved area, were financed from the first prize of the Celebrate Islandsvideo competition “My Project in 120 Seconds” that the organisers won in May 2022.

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