The contemporary containment dams of Apeiranthos, Naxos island, Greece

In January of 1987 the Commune of Apeiranthos together with the Ministry of Agriculture initiated a programme for the construction of dams in order to reduce the rainwater flow lost towards the sea and to enrich the underground aquifer.

The dams were constructed in three phases based on the hydro-geological study of the Ministry of Agriculture, Directorate of Geology and Hydrology (April 1987). In November of 1987 the First Program Agreement was signed by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Commune of Apeiranthos and until the end of June of 1988, 25 containment dams of various types were constructed. One month later, the Second Program Agreement was signed and 21 new dams were built, while in March of 1989 a Third Agreement was signed for the completion of this series of technical works in the region of Apeiranthos.

The building of the modern containment dams was inspired by traditional techniques and their construction is very similar in terms of size, form and materials. All of the existing constructed dams are in harmony with the natural environment, as well as with the traditional architecture of the region.

This is a case study of great importance depicting a successful synergy of a visionary and highly efficient local Authority with a willing Ministry, that in a very short time and with a relatively low budget created a substantial project contributing to the sustainable development not only for the Apeirantos Area, but for the whole island of Naxos. We hope that similar endeavours will take place in other regions of Greece and of the water scarce Mediterranean countries.