Crete has limited water resources, due to its geographical location and weather conditions. Dams and artificial reservoirs have been built at several sites of the island in order to meet the increasing needs for water supply. After their construction, all of them soon were transformed into very important wetlands, enriching the biodiversity of the island.
The largest natural lake in Crete is located at Kournas by Georgioupolis, where visitors can watch birds from the local watch tower. Small but important natural ponds with water all year round are also located at Tersanas by Chania, at Mohos and Thrapsano while seasonal ponds are met at Orne, Parakalouri, Ziros, Omalos by Viannos, Achendrias, Stroumboulas, various plateaus of the northern province of Mirabello, Gergeri and at several more places. Artificial lakes where one can observe birds are located at Ayia by Chania, at Votomos by Zaros, at the large dams of Bramiana, Aposelemis, Faneromeni, Potami and the numerous small dams in the hinterland of Heraklion.
The lake at Digheni’s Tomb, adjacent to the artificial lake of Gergeri, is a special case of a seasonal wetland that has water in winter and dries up in the summer. The natural cavity where it is located has the form of an inverted cone. Although the swamp is isolated, it maintains populations of amphibians, tortoises and birds.
The pond of Livada is located at the homonym position 1km north of the village Thrapsano and is one of the favorite places for locals to walk. The small lake covers only 21 acres, but is an important wetland, where more than 130 species of birds have been met.
In the heart of Province Mirabello, prefecture Lassithi, which the most arid region all over Crete one would not expect to meet a natural freshwater lake. However, at village Kourounes we meet one. Specifically in the area named Limni (lake) at the south entrance of the village and next to the first houses of the small village we find the lake of Kourounes.
Parakalouri, now known as Saint Constantine, is a small village of the province of Mirabello. Apart from the frescoed church of St. Constantine, visitors in winter and early spring can see the 7 acre seasonal pond of Livadi which is surrounded by dense vegetation and hosts bird fauna.
Armanogia is a small village located at an altitude of 380m and 38km south of Heraklion city. Next to the village, in 2004, a small dam was built. The lake of the dam covers an area of 120 acres.
Damania village is a small and quiet village at the most fertile part of Monofatsi district, Heraklion Prefecture. All locals came from Minor Asia, just after the disaster in Smyrna. The village has recently been added to the villages that have a dam nearby, as a small dam was built to retain water from the tributary of Anapodaris River.
The artificial lake of Skinias is located 1km north of Skinias village, beside the River Baritis, from where it gets supplied with water. The lake was constructed in order to irrigate the local land.
The arid and barren province of Ano Mirabello water is scarce and especially in older times it was the biggest problem of people. Lack of springs forced people to store rain water. Thus, every village stored rainwater in cisterns or large open wells. In some cases, especially in small plateaus (called pogles) the tanks had the size of a small lake.