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EnviFriendly - Environmental Friendly Technologies for Rural Development

LIFE05 ENV/GR/000245

Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version  

Contact details:

Project Manager: Dimitros LIAKAKOS
Tel: +30 27310 93846
Fax: +30 27310 93850

Project description:


The Evrotas is the longest river in the prefecture of Laconia. Its valley is typified by agricultural land use, containing many citrus groves, olive groves and pastures. The prefecture is known for its orange production and is also home to 168 olive mills, 91 of which are in the river’s catchment area.

The drainage basin of the River Evrotas is considered as a “less favoured area” due to its mountainous terrain and the danger of depopulation; the prefecture has an ageing population. The basin suffers from over-use of river water, meaning that the river can sometimes dry up completely with devastating effects for fish populations.

The area also suffers from high levels of both point and non-point pollution, but in particular from agricultural sources such as the use of pesticides and effluent from the olive oil and orange juice sectors. The olive mills produce approximately 60 000 m3 of wastewater each year, 57 000 tonnes of wet waste, and 6 300 tonnes of phenolic compounds.

Until this project, no studies had been conducted to allow the establishment of a management plan for the river basin area.


The objective of the project was to develop an integrated management plan for the Evrotas River Basin and coastal zone, combining the latest environmentally friendly technologies and socio-economic factors.

The Envifriendly project planned to produce a “toolbox” of environmentally friendly technologies that could be used to minimise diffuse pollution originating from agricultural land, and install and test three prototype units to treat wastewater and solid waste from local production of olive oil and orange juice.

Associated and complementary activities would include quantifying existing pollution loads in the basin, measures to control river bank erosion and the development of models from hydrological and geo-chemical analysis to anticipate changes.

The project targeted a 60-80% reduction of nitrate loads from groundwater to drainage canals in the Evrotas River basin.


The LIFE project successfully developed an integrated management plan for the Evrotas River basin. The significance of the project’s work has been recognised by the Central Water Agency of Greece.

The Envifriendly project established monitoring stations to check hydrological and physico-chemical parameters in the river basin. A risk assessment of environmental stresses and modelling scenarios were carried out. The natural ability of the river basin to reduce the intensity of pollution - attenuation - was monitored and recorded. It was found to be able to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads by 96% and 98% respectively.

Wells were installed at two drainage canal sites at Skala-Vasilopotamos and systematic sampling of sediment, reeds, and ground and surface waters conducted. Results suggested that, with the appropriate management of reeds, approximately 77% of nitrate nitrogen and all phosphorus entering the drainage canal would be removed by plant uptake.

Prototype units to treat waste from local olive oil mills and the wastewater from table olives producing companies were tested:

  • One approach filtered olive wastewater before releasing the liquid residue into a newly planted area of poplar trees to be naturally degraded. Organic matter from the wastewater was not found below 80 cm deep and did not enter groundwater reservoirs. As the poplars and their root system grew, phytoremediation achieved a reduction of nitrate loads in the wastewater of 80%.
  • A second technique used lime to help separate solid and liquid particles before composting the solid part and mixing the liquid with clean water. Both were then used on agricultural land, increasing yields of maize.
  • The third approach used electrolysis to treat wastewater with high biological oxygen demand (BOD) from processing olives in brine. This reduced the BOD content by 50%.

A report on the demonstration and evaluation of the agricultural waste management technologies was produced and included suggested amendments which could make the tested technologies even more effective. Socio-economic concerns were assessed through meetings and surveys of local stakeholders. Based on the pilots, the Lakonia prefecture established a list of 10 'EnviFriendly' techniques (see project website for more details). The prefecture said that it would grant annual permits to olive oil mill owners only if they will adopt one of these techniques to control wastewater. The prefecture further committed to defining limits of pollutants that can be legally discharged in water bodies, in line with efforts to implement the Water Framework Directive.

The final integrated management plan for the Evrotas river basin took into account all the identified environmental and socio-economic elements. It had six axes covering: agricultural development; drinking water; irrigation; pollution reduction; flood and drought response; and biodiversity protection. A Local Development Observatory was officially established in Laconia to ensure its effective implementation.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Land-use & Planning - Sensitive and protected areas management


mountainous area‚  diffuse pollution‚  protected area‚  coastal area‚  rural area‚  agricultural pollution

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 91/676 - Protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural so ...
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Prefecture of Laconia
Type of organisation Local authority
Description The Prefecture of Laconia is one of the 54 local public authorities of Greece, located to the south of the Greek mainland. The Prefecture was founded in 1994 as the main local government authority for Laconia. Its main purpose is the administration of local affairs at the level of the prefecture as well as the financial, social and cultural development of the prefecture.
Partners Technical University of Crete, Greece Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Greece Development Company of Laconia S.A., Greece Alpha Mentor, Greece National Centre for Social Research, Greece Municipality of Elos, Greece Municipality of Skala, Greece Municipality of Pellana, Greece Municipality of Mystra, Greece Municipality of Oinountos, Greece Municipality of Faridos, Greece Municipality of Krokean, Greece Municipality of Therapnon, Greece


Project reference LIFE05 ENV/GR/000245
Duration 01-DEC-2005 to 31-MAY -2009
Total budget 2,193,875.00 €
EU contribution 1,096,210.00 €
Project location Peloponnisos(Ellas)


Read more:

Leaflet "Manual for Environmental Education Activities: Th ...
Project web site Project's website (GR/EN)
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan (EN)
Publication: Case study "An Approach to Environmental Education" (1.231 KB ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report (EN)
Publication: Management plan "Ολοκληρωμένη Διαχείριση Υδατικών Πόρων Λεκάνης Απ ...
Publication: Pedagogical tool "Enνironmental education folder for teachers and c ...
Publication: Technical report "Environmental Friendly Technologies for Rural Dev ...


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version