Kouris dam in 2012
|Official name||Kouris Dam (Φράγμα Κούρη)|
|Location||Limassol District, Cyprus|
|Construction began||Sept 1, 1984|
|Operator(s)||Cyprus Water Board|
|Dam and spillways|
|Total capacity||115,000,000 m3|
|Surface area||3.6 km3|
|Current storage level |
Kouris is the largest dam of a network of 107 dams in Cyprus. It lies at an altitude of 250 metres (820 ft) and collects the water delivered by the rivers Kouris, Limnatis and Kryos. Furthermore, water from Diarizos river is diverted to Kouris dam via a 14.5 kilometres (9.0 mi) long connecting tunnel. It has an overall catchment area of 300 kilometres (190 mi)2. The dam is located 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) northwest of the city of Limassol and 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) west of the village of Ypsonas. The dam has a central clay core zoned earthfill embankment with a height of 110 metres (360 ft) and a crest length of approximately 550 metres (1,800 ft). For its construction the whole village of Alassa had to be relocated to a nearby site overlooking the reservoir (between the Kouris and Limnatis valleys) at a cost of around CYP£5,000,000.
Its construction was opposed by environmental groups concerned about the effects of water diversion on the Limassol Salt Lake, a wetland located downstream to the rivers and used by migratory birds. The dam is part of the Southern Conveyor Project, which carries water from the SW side of Cyprus to the SE part of the island, over a distance of 120 km. The dam has a central clay core zoned earthfill embankment with a height of 110m and a crest length of approximately 550 metres providing a water storage volume of 115 million cubic metres.
The construction of the dam was first proposed by the Cyprus Water Development board in 1968. Following several feasibility studies the French engineering company Sogreah  completed the detailed design in 1981. The contract for its construction was awarded in January 1984 to a consortium comprising J&P construction and Impregilo of Italy.
The construction cost amounted to CYP £29,000,000. Part of the funding came from the European Investment Bank. Construction was completed in September 1988. It was officially inaugurated by the then president, George Vassiliou, on 22 April 1989.
In popular culture
According to local legend, the dam is home to a cryptid, the Ayia Napa sea monster. Government officials have started a search for the monster's existence in several locations on the island including Kouris Dam as well as Cape Greko (a village near the creature's namesake Ayia Napa). It has been speculated to be something like a crocodile or serpent. One citizen was so adamant he had spotted the creature that he told reporters, "I watched this serpent with my own two eyes, this was no mistake". Despite the speculation, no proof has yet been found and even the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Affairs have drawn a blank on the Kouris mystery.
- Psyllides, George (August 14, 2007). "Officials say Cyprus' water reserves dangerously low, could drop further if drought holds". International Herald Tribune. The Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-08-20.
- Boronina, Anastasia; Philippe Renard; Werner Balderer; Andreas Christodoulides (10 February 2003). "Groundwater resources in the Kouris catchment (Cyprus): data analysis and numerical modelling". Journal of Hydrology. 271 (1–4): 130–149. doi:10.1016/S0022-1694(02)00322-0.
- "Annual Report" (.doc). Auditor General of The Republic of Cyprus. 2002. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- "A dam good idea". Cyprus Mail. July 16, 2004. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-26.
- Ramsar mission to Cyprus, point 14 Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Cyprus Water Board, Information on the Southern Conveyor Project
- Sogreah website[permanent dead link]
- EC Delegation to Cyprus Archived 2006-11-11 at the Wayback Machine.
- Largest dam overflows for the first time (Cyprus Mail archive article - Friday, March 5, 2004) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved January 20, 2007.
- Kouris overflows (Cyprus Mail article - Friday, April 8, 2012) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 9, 2012. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
- Alethea Reynolds (28 October 2008). "Cyprus officials search for mystery 'monster'". Famagusta Gazette.