Πηγές Αναβάλου

Anavalos Spring

Useful Information

Location: Coastal road between Kiveri and Xiropigado.
From Argos follow Highway 7 to Kiveri, then coastal road south.
(37.516347, 22.738666)
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstSubaquatic Spring
Light: n/a
Dimension: A=0 m asl.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: F.K. Pappa, G. Eleftheriou, N. Maragos, C. Tsabaris (2019): Dose rate assessment at the submarine spring of Anavalos using ERICA Tool, Greece, 5th International Conference on Environmental Radioactivity, Envira 2019, Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences. pdf DOI
C. Tsabaris, V. Zervakis, H. Georga, F.K. Pappa, S. Alexakisa, E. Krasakopoulou, D.L. Patiris (2021): In situ characterization using natural radio-tracers in a submarine freshwater spring, Kiveri, Greece, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, Volume 233, July 2021, 106583. DOI pdf
G. Stamatis, G. Migiros, A. Kontari, E. Dikarou, D. Gamvroula (2011): Application of tracer method and hydrochemical analyses regarding the investigation of the coastal karstic springs and the submarine spring (Anavalos) in Stoupa Bay (W. Mani Peninsula), Advances in the Research of Aquatic Environment, Springer Berlin Heidelberg. online
Address: Anavalos Spring.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1970 dam around the spring built.
2008 project to irrigate 90 km² in Ermionida.


Πηγές Αναβάλου (Mikros Anavalos, Anavalos Spring) is a submarine fresh water spring, which is used for water supply. Anavalos is not really a proper name, as it simply translates submarine, and there are numerous "anavalos springs" along the coast. A water-filled cave ends a few meters below the sea level at the foot of a limestone cliff. Unfortunately, this means the sweet water mixes with salt water and is not suitable anymore. The salt water even enters the cave and inside the cave is a halocline, during winter with higher yield the salt and sweet water are mixed by the strong current and become brackish. Such a submarine spring is rarely usable for drinking water, and a lot of valuable sweet water is lost.

The ancient name of the spring is Δίνη (Dini, Vortex), that's how it was named by Παυσανία (Pausanias *111/115-✝180) 1900 years ago. According to Pausanias, the ancient Argives threw horses decorated with bridles into the spring to appease Poseidon. There is a Greek legend, that this spring is the birthplace or Genesion of Poseidon, the god of the sea. The name Dini is still used in some publications, but the modern name is Ανάβαλος (Anavalos).

When the goddess Rea gave birth to her son Poseidon, she had to hide him from his father, Kronos. Kronos, who was king of the Titans, was afraid that his sons would steal his position, so every time Rea bore him a son, he ate the baby. Rea told Kronos that she this time had given birth to a foal, and hid little Poseidon in a sheepfold. The sheepfold was next to the sinkhole in Nestani, and Poseidon was taken underground and reappeared at Genesion, where he was born for the second time.

The spring was cased in, to seal out the undesired salt water and provide drinking water for the village. A semicircular dam was built, which was possible because there was a rocky ledge in front of the cave opening. On the northern end is the four-story building with the pumps. The dam and the building were erected in 1970, the late 1960s were a time when several submarine springs at the Mediterranean coast were cased. The results were not as good as they hoped, so other springs, which would require higher investment, were considered unprofitable.

The water in the spring mixed with seawater and became brackish, especially in times of low yield. Actually seawater was flowing back into the cave producing brackish water even inside. The dam has overflows, but it dams the water inside to a higher level than the sea level. As a result the pressure in the cave is higher than outside and sweet water flows out through any crack, and seawater is not able to flow in, even if there are passages which are not inside the dam. A really intelligent approach using the law of communicating vessels, though not new, it was done by the Romans 2000 years ago at the Spanish coast.

In 1990 Athens was facing the problem of water shortage for years, and the Mitsotakis Government discussed the possibility of using this spring. However, the quality of the water is not very good, it is not possible to use it without proper treatment. That's cheaper than desalinating seawater, but nevertheless expensive. The problem is that the water originates from karst, its underground for days, probably weeks, not enough time for microorganisms to filter and clean it successfully. While not suitable for drinking it is suitable for irrigation, with no or very little treatment. The second problem is that the spring is seasonal, the yield depends strongly on the season, and right when most water is needed during summer, the production is quite low. These are the obvious and common problems with karst springs.

The area of Arcadia is very dry during summer. The mountain ridges are not fertile, mostly they are bare karst with many limestone rocks and little soil. But the river valleys have a flat floor and are suitable for agriculture. Unfortunately the profitable agricultural crops require irrigation during summer, so the area is always in need of sweet water. The numerous agricultural areas have thousands of wells where the farmers pump groundwater for irrigation. Unfortunately they pump much more than the rainfall, so the groundwater level sinks and seawater enters the aquifer, the water becomes brackish and unsuitable. As a result the farmers submitted emergency requests to the government, because this might cause the ruin of many farmers. First they ruin nature, then they are ruined. We thought, that's fine, when they are ruined and do not pump anymore, the situation will soon normalize.

But their solution is different: they demand the construction of pipelines to transport sweet water from Anavalos Spring to the farmers. This is already done, in 2020 irrigation water more than 200 km² was pumped through pipelines with a total length of 80 km. Lately an irrigation project of the agricultural lands of the municipality of North Kynouria with the water of the spring was started. This is not exactly close, it is located almost 20 km inland, the construction of the necessary water pipes will cost about 6.1 Million €. All the irrigation projects for a dozen agricultural areas together would cost more than 100 Million €. From the nature protection view that's actually mostly a good thing, because the water would flow unused into the Mediterranean and using it for irrigation would reduce the pumping of other wells. Drawbacks are the cost of the pipelines, the nature destruction by the construction, and the energy needed for the pumping and the carbon dioxide which is needed to produce it. And - of course - this is Greece and there is a high level of corruption, so a lot of the investments will be lost by nepotism and bribery.

On the southern end of the dam is a small church named Εκκλησάκι Αγίου Γεωργίου (Ekklisia Agios Georgios, church of Saint George). As a matter of fact the spring is also called Αγίου Γεωργίου (Agios Georgos, Saint George Spring). The church is obviously much older than the source enclosure, but today it is easily reached by walking along the dam. We are not sure how the church was reached before, but we guess by boat, there is no trail from the road above.

To the S. of Kyveri begins the rugged road across the mountains, anciently called Anigraea (Anigraia), running along the west into the plain of Thyrea. (Paus. ii. 38. § 4, seq.) Shortly before descending into the Thyreatic plain, the traveller arrives opposite the Anavolos (Anabolos), which is a copious source of fresh water rising in the sea, at a quarter of a mile from the narrow beach under the cliffs. Leake observed that it rose with such force as to form a convex surface, and to disturb the sea for several hundred feet round. It is evidently the exit of a subterraneous river of some magnitude, and thus corresponds with the Dine (Dine) of the ancients, which, according to Pausanias (viii. 7. § 2), is the outlet of the waters of the Argon Pedion in the Mantinice. (Leake, vol. ii. p. 469, seq.; Ross, p. 148, seq.)
William Smith, LLD (ed.) (1854): Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography.

Quite strange is the fact that there are actually very few publications on the hydrology or geology of the spring, while there are numerous on natural radiation in the spring. The Hellenic Centre for Marine Research and the University of Aegean, Department of Marine Sciences, placed a newly constructed sensor system in the spring to measure radiation and numerous other values. The underwater gamma ray spectrometer measures the natural radiation caused by Radon.