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Kifisos River Basin, Attica, Greece
A SCENT Pilot Area
Springing from the Penteli and Parnitha mountains, the river Kifisos is the longest river in Athens and cuts across the capital city and suburbs before meeting the Saronic Gulf. The river takes its name from the river God who presided over this largest of rivers which was the source of life for the vast, fertile athenian plain and is responsible for bringing wealth and prosperityto Attic and to Athens, only to have much of its beauty lost over time from repeated abuse from human factors such as waste dumping, construction works, fires etc.
Despite these issues, the resilience of the great river provides a home to vital flora and fauna, feeding the surrounding area with oxygen and regulating temperatures in the region. The part of the river stretching up to Metamorphosi enjoys ferns, eucalyptus, berry bushes, reeds and massive plane trees in addition to be home to from, turtles and even some fish.
In what is now deemed to have been a large error in judgment, a section of the Kifisos had been covered to facilitate the construction of roads and, partly, to eliminate the bad smell emanating as a result of waste pollution. This covering the river and regulation of the watercourse has created a number of environmental issues in the area over time which are now being addressed.
Photograph from mapio.net
SCENT and the Kifisos River Basin
The SCENT pilot in Greece relates to the urban environment around the Kifisos river in Attica. This covers app. 380km2, and almost 60% of its watershed is urbanised (metropolitan Athens area). Its hydrographic network has been drastically altered due to distinct land-use and 68% of the basin is occupied by urban expanses – host to 4 million citizens.
The city’s rapid development occurred without an appropriate plan for drainage works: Parts of the drainage network were shrunk and converted into streets whilst critical river cross sections were diminished. When floods occur they have a significant impact on infrastructure, especially at the downstream part, including Piraeus port, a major transportation hub that is served by railway network and major roads.
Partner HRTA, a non-profit voluntary organisation that is involved in urban search and rescue operations for Kifisos floods and partner Region of Attica, the regional policy maker for environmental and civil protection issues, will co-organise a large scale citizen campaign with field visits.
Citizens will take on-site images from the pilot site, enriching the existing dataset. A larger group of citizens will participate in the online gaming apps for annotating already available images of the pilot.