As preparations to tackle a possible water shortage this summer gather pace, a new study seen by Sunday's Kathimerini suggested that Greece has suffered one- or two-year droughts at regular intervals over the last 147 years.

The research shows that there has been a mild one-year drought roughly every five years, a serious one-year drought every 10 years and an extensive two-year drought about every 25 years.

The report produced by the Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems and Forest Products shows that Greece's worst drought on record was in 1898 when there was only 116 centimeters of rainfall during the whole year.

The most recent drought was in 2000, when annual rainfall totaled just 228 centimeters.

However, the study indicates that a year of drought and a year of heavy rainfall, which leads to flooding, are usually only one or two years apart.

The scientists who took part in the research suggest that the study could be used by authorities to prepare for droughts or floods.

"The common factor in the last two droughts (1989-90 and 2000-01) has been that the measures to ease their impact were taken once the effects were already visible," Dr Giorgos Baloutsos of the National Agricultural Research Foundation told Kathimerini.

"The drawing up of a plan to manage a drought is even more useful today," Baloutsos added. "The lack of such a plan means that we are tackling this year's drought problems with last-minute measures that are usually costly and have limited impact."