Cyprus is well-known for its dams and freshwater reservoirs. These artificial bodies of water are not only great parts of the landscape, but also perfect fishing spots: carps, catfish, mosquito fish, trout, pike perch, and other freshwater fishes know Cyprus reservoirs as their home. Moreover, some of the reservoirs located on the territory of Cyprus national parks, are very popular touristic destinations, where you can hike along the fruit gardens and enjoy watching rare birds and finding plants.
Fresh water in Cyprus
Due to the location of the island and frequent droughts, fresh water has been in short supply in Cyprus for centuries. Sea water finds its way even to the ground, mixing with ground waters, which had been the only supply of fresh water in Cyprus until 1970. There are only several rivers on the island, and most of them are up in Troodos mountain, which makes them not easily (or not at all) accessible.
In the second half of the 20th century, the problem with fresh water on the island was partially solved by building dams and reservoirs for rainwater and ice water. Interestingly, Cyprus has the largest number of dams per square kilometre in the world (as of 2011), while the integral capacity of all the reservoirs on the island is 327,5 million cubic meters.
At the moment there are several large distillation factories on the island, including mobile ones. Each factory produces up to 60 000 cubic meters of freshwater every day. Another existing project is to build an electric power station that will use solar energy to distillate large amounts of water.
If you visit the island as a tourist, please remember that tap water here is not safe to drink. Use only filtered or boiled water.
Reservoir construction in Cyprus
The very first dam (a rock-fill dam) on the island was built in 1900 next to Kouklia. The following 15 dams (including a gravity one) were built in different parts of the island between 1945 and 1958. And even more dams appeared in Cyprus after 1970, when the Republic of Cyprus was officially announced. Currently, there are more than 100 dams on the island; 50 of them are distinguished by the international committee.
Follow this link to find the list of the largest water reservoirs on the island, that were filled up with water during the winter of 2011-2012, as well as their coordinates.
Fishing in Cyprus
If you want to go fishing on the island, you will need to get a license in the fishery department (the offices are located in Larnaca, Nicosia, Paphos and Limassol). The license costs 35 Euro and allows fishing in all freshwater reservoirs on the island. You can also purchase a 17 Euro license to go fishing in one reservoir of your choice. It is important to remember that you can only use one tacker and one fish hook: not following this rule may result in a fine.
The most famous «fishing dams» in Cyprus are Achna, Lefkara, Kalavasos, Germasogeia, Dipotamos, Kouris, Asprokremmos, and Limpia. In these reservoirs, one can fish out carps, mosquito fish, catfish, bass, trout, bream, tench, and other fishes. Crawfish are also often to be seen.
Five water reservoirs worth visiting in Cyprus
The Germasogeia dam is located in the village with the same name not far from Limassol. The capacity of this huge reservoir is 13,5 million cubic meters. A highway is built along the water, and there are numerous hiking trails, including one recommended by Cyprus Tourism Organisation (count on 30-40 minutes walk).
There are also equipped picnic areas and bird watching points next to the dam. If you feel like doing active sports, pay a visit to the base camp where you can rent a kayak and practise rowing with an instructor.
If you are licensed fishermen, be sure to take you fishing gear! The Germasogeia dam is inhabited by roaches, carps, river perches and other fishes.
The Kalavasos reservoir is another popular destination which is located not far from Larnaca. The dam was built on the Vasilikos river in 1985; in 2007 the water level in the reservoir was critically low, but by 2011 the situation had improved and now the dam is one the best fishing locations on the island. Such fish as bass, carp, tilapia, and others live and breed here.
Kalopanayiotis village is easily accessible from Nicosia; the Kalopanayiotis dam, built in 1966, is located next to it. There is a trout farm and a restaurant where trout is served on the territory of the reservoir. The banks are perfect for family day-off activities and hiking. A beautiful old monastery in the village is worth visiting, too.
The largest water reservoir in Famagusta district is called is the Achna. The dam is located between Larnaca and Ayia-Napa, almost on the «Green line», a border between Greek and Turkish parts of the island. The Animal Park next to the reservoir is a wonderful place where one can watch geese, horses, ducks, and donkeys (try riding them, if you want!).
A note for fishermen: all fish from the reservoir is to be set free. Fishing here is only allowed for fun or sports interest.
The Kannaviou reservoir can be found in 24 kilometres to Northwest from Paphos. The capacity of this one is 18 million cubic meters. There is a nice picnic area equipped with bathrooms and children’s playground in 1,5 kilometres from the water. Lots of people come here every year to fish and hike.