14 Kavouropotamos stream GR


Exploring the sponge functioning of small stone check dams in the Kavouropotamos stream. The ephemeral Kavouropotamos stream is located in the southern part of Paros, an island in the Cyclades.

Case study area

0,001 km² stream

Climate and soil

Mediterranean south bio-region

Calcareous soils

Sponge measure

Groundwater recharge restoration

(traditional check dams)



1. Challenge

The island is characterized by a typical Mediterranean climate with high temperatures and limited rainfall during the dry months. As a result, Paros suffers from excessive droughts, which is amplified by tourism and the overuse of water resources.

2. Type of sponge measures 

Aiming at increasing the sponge functioning of the stream and enhancing its capacity to support biodiversity, WWF Greece together with Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (MedINA), Paros Municipality, Paros Water Supply & Sewerage Company and Boulouki built 34 traditional dry-stone check dams along 1300 meters of the stream in June 2022. 

These semi-permanent low-height structures, historically designed to collect small amounts of water for irrigation, also serve a dual purpose: by reducing flow velocity they allow more water to infiltrate into the soil, and by retaining water, they create shallow ponds that are biodiversity hotspots, critical for flora and fauna during dry periods.

3. Monitoring

While such check dams have been widely used for water management in the Mediterranean region for hundreds of years, our knowledge of their contribution to water availability (especially groundwater recharge) is limited. To support the case study, pre- and post- monitoring actions on biotic and abiotic factors are being conducted to monitor the impact of the dry-stone check dams on groundwater levels and biodiversity. 

4. Stakeholders

Local stakeholders are particularly interested in the possibilities to mitigate droughts and prevent or reduce local flood risks, both in the rural and urbanized areas.
 Local stakeholders include provincial government, drinking water company (Paros), farmers, NGOs -Boulouki) and volunteers.

5. Reference information

WWF Greece (case study leader)

Additional information on traditional small stone check dams


37° 0' 59" N , 25° 12' 10" E