Cyprus's water supply was both inadequate and irregular. The average rainfall of 500 mm, mostly in the winter, left the island quite dry much of the rest of the time because no rivers flowed year round. During the colonial period, a dam and reservoir construction program was begun, and by independence Cyprus had sixteen dams with a storage capacity of six million cubic meters, or 1 percent of the island's estimated 600 million cubic meters of usable runoff from annual rainfall.
After independence a number of large projects were mounted to increase reservoir storage capacity, which reached 300 million cubic meters by 1990. The most important of these projects, and the largest development project in Cyprus since independence, was the Southern Conveyor Project, which collected surplus water from the southwestern part of the island and conveyed it by a 110-kilometer long water carrier to the central and eastern areas. When the project reached completion in 1993, it, and a number of other large projects, would guarantee farmers and the inhabitants of Nicosia and other towns adequate amounts of water into the next century.
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