Cooperative for Drilling and Exploiting a Private Water Well [Greece]

Συνεταιρισμός με Σκοπό την Εγκατάσταση και Λειτουργία Ομαδικής Γεώτρηση

approaches_2619 - Greece

Completeness: 78%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Preventing and Remediating degradation of soils in Europe through Land Care (EU-RECARE )
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Technical University of Crete (Technical University of Crete) - Greece

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

When were the data compiled (in the field)?


The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

A cooperative of land owners and at least one water rights owner established to jointly establish and manage a private freshwater well.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: The approach is implemented for deep water wells where installation costs are high. It provides an option for land owners to abandon their low quality shallow wells (such as those on coastal aquifers) for a better quality well (e.g. inland) located in a remote property. The objective of the cooperative is to share costs and risk while securing a sustainable water quality for its members.

Methods: A cooperative is formed with interested land users and shares are distributed depending on individual financial contribution to the drilling cost. Additional costs are either apportioned to coop members (e.g. common buffer tank) or managed individually depending on agreement. Apart from actual value, shares also represent the fraction of water rights of each member. Therefore, every member can consume up to their rights fraction or lease from other members who have consumed less that their rights fraction. Water consumption is usually measured indirectly through power consumption at the pump and a common log is kept to split bills power bills when issued.

Stages of implementation: Initially, a land owner secures a well installation permit from the Water Authority. If it is a requirement to form the cooperative as a legal entity then an advocate is requared. The coop elects 5 members to serve as president, treasurer, secretary and alternates. During the installation phase, members of the cooperative share costs according to their agreement. During the operation phase, costs are covered according to user consumption.

Role of stakeholders: The Water Managing Authority needs to provide a permit for the drilling and a geologist needs to oversee and sign for the drilling. Cooperative members need to be timely in their financial obligations in order to cover bills and maintenance costs on time in order to avoid interruptions of the water service for the entire group.

Other important information: This approach was documented within the scope of FP7 RECARE Project, funded grant agreement no 603498.

2.3 Photos of the Approach

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied



Region/ State/ Province:


Further specification of location:


2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:


2.7 Type of Approach

  • recent local initiative/ innovative

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

The Approach focused mainly on other activities than SLM (Securing good quality water at adequate quantities, reduce costs per capita)

The objective of the Approach are to share costs and risk while securing a sustainable water quality for its members. This way land owners have additional options for usign good quality water at an affordable cost.

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: Lack of cash to invest

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

High cost of a good quality (deep) well at a sufficient distance from the sea to prevent saltwater intrusion.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Group of land users share the cost of drilling and become shareholders of the well. The amount of shares of each shareholder is proportional to the assets invested in the installation.

legal framework (land tenure, land and water use rights)
  • hindering

New regulations discourage or ban the installation of new wells in order to regulate the quality and quantity of groundwater in the area. Also selling water without a permit lays at a legally gray area.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Well shares (representing water rights) can be exchanged or rented among shareholders and sold to new shareholders. Therefore water rights can be distributed without new wells being drilled.

The existing land ownership, land use rights / water rights hindered a little the approach implementation At least one of the members of the cooperative needs to own land and user rights at a location suitable for drilling.

knowledge about SLM, access to technical support
  • hindering

Water wells require an intermediate buffer water tank.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: In the case of a collective installation can be single (rather that each shareholder installing a separate water tank) thus reducing costs due to the economy of scales and saving space.

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

Farmers, agriculturalists

  • SLM specialists/ agricultural advisers

Water well drilling specialists

  • national government (planners, decision-makers)

Water permits are eventually issued by the Water Authority

3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation self-mobilization Land users forming the cooperative
planning self-mobilization The board of the coop adjusts pricing and plans distribution networks in cooperation with the members.
implementation self-mobilization Construction work by land users who might have the resources to help.
monitoring/ evaluation self-mobilization The board monitors water quality, water level and user consumption.
Research none

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
  • mainly land users, supported by SLM specialists

Land users take the initiative to form an unofficial cooperative or non-profit organization and share expenses to hire a water well drilling rig and specialists.

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by mainly by SLM specialists with consultation of land users. Specialists will decide on the specifics of the well construction and assign pumping yields.

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Specify who was trained:
  • land users
Form of training:
  • on-the-job
Subjects covered:

Use of the pumping system, pricing system, sustainable water use, legal issues.

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • no

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?



bio-physical aspects were monitored by land users through measurements; indicators: water salinity, pH, pollutants, level of the water in the well

economic / production aspects were monitored by land users through observations; indicators: consumption of water/power by each shareholder

There were no changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation

There were no changes in the Technology as a result of monitoring and evaluation

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

If precise annual budget is not known, indicate range:
  • < 2,000
Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: local community / land user(s) (Establishing the cooperative as a legal entity): 100.0%

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?


5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

  • none
If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • voluntary

Equipment, construction and infrastructure are not part of the actual approach but of the technology facilitated by the approach.

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did the Approach empower socially and economically disadvantaged groups?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did the Approach improve issues of land tenure/ user rights that hindered implementation of SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did the Approach lead to improved livelihoods / human well-being?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did the Approach help to alleviate poverty?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

The approach provides the means to secure water availability and therefore sustain higher productivity.

6.2 Main motivation of land users to implement SLM

  • increased production

Production cannot be sustained by relying only on water from the coastal zone

  • increased profit(ability), improved cost-benefit-ratio

Other solutions for securing acceptable quality water are less cost-effective

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • uncertain
If no or uncertain, specify and comment:

While the approach is financially sustainable, it is uncertain whether water resources are managed in a sustainable way, since pumping limits are difficult to implement and are imposed in an empirical way.

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Reduces start-up costs for well construction and subsequent risks, allows for deeper wells far from the salt intrusion zone thus providing a more sustainable water quality.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Provides the financial means to drill wells far from the salt intrusion zone, thus reducing the risk of enhancing salt intrusion. It is also a indirect way of reducing illegal pumping by consolidating water users to a more easily manageable and accountable entity. (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Imposing pumping limits so that water use is sustainable. Provide motives to join cooperatives.)

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Once the well has been drilled, water quantities pumped are difficult to control. This can create tension among users but also lead to over-pumping. A more transparent way of measuring can be implemented (e.g. metering per farm). This of course includes additional costs. Another option is to allow the Water Authority to take control of distribution within the private network and thus impose pumping limits (or at least be aware of the extent of the exploitation).

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

Links and modules

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