Alter Aqua – Non Conventional Water Resources in Gozo

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Alter Aqua - Non Conventional Water Resources in GozoThe Maltese Islands have limited freshwater resources and depend heavily on desalination. Therefore there is an evident need to mobilise Non Conventional Water Resources (NCWR) in order to secure water availability and facilitate sustainable development.

The Non Conventional Water Resources Programme in Malta, also known as Alter Aqua is a multi-stakeholder programme bringing together the Global Water Partnership Mediterranean (GWP-Med), the Ministry for Gozo (MGOZ) and the eco-Gozo Project and the Coca-Cola System in Malta (Coca-Cola Malta and General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd).

Activities are implemented in collaboration with Nature Trust Malta (NTM) and the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE). Alter Aqua commenced its activities in November 2011 and is primarily funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation through a two-year grant and co-funded by the Ministry for Gozo.

Alter Aqua Programme aims to mobilise NCWR, as a sustainable solution to address water scarcity issues in the Island of Gozo, due to resources depletion, rising demand and climate change.

The Alter Aqua Programme’s objectives are:

– To promote NCWRs and especially rainwater harvesting and greater reuse as a cost effective method for water availability and climate change adaptation in the water scarce Island of Gozo;

– To support the Ministry for Gozo in the water sector Sustainable Development Goals, aligned with its SD Action Plan in view of their vision for the Island of Gozo to become an eco-island by 2020 (Eco-Gozo project);

– To enhance the capacity of the local authorities to manage NCWR;

– To educate students and teachers on NCWR and increase awareness on sustainable water use;

– To train local technicians on the application of modern NCWR systems and materials, and build their capacity to install and/repair such systems on the islands and share their expertise at local level;

– To promote knowledge and sharing of experiences on aspects of rainwater harvesting systems and approaches and

– To promote multi-stakeholder partnerships for local NCWR initiatives.

The Alter Aqua Programme, through its holistic approach, focuses on three main pillars of action:

(i) NCWR applications: installation of new and reinstatement of existing NCWR systems (mainly rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse systems) in selected public buildings and areas in the Island of Gozo.

(ii) Educational activities:

a. Enhancement of related technical skills at of local workers and technical services of local authorities, on traditional know-how as well as on modern technologies for NCWR schemes and water related innovations;

b. Development of the Alter Aqua Educational Material on Non Conventional Water Resources by the MIO-ECSDE/MEdIES secretariat, in collaboration with Nature Trust Malta;

c. Educational activities for students in the Maltese islands aiming at raising awareness on NCWR, sustainable water use, etc;

d. Education of local teachers and educators on how to apply the Alter Aqua Educational Material.

(iii) Capacity Building and Awareness Raising activities for:

a. The local and regional Councils of the Maltese Islands to enhance their capacity to manage non conventional water resources;

b. National NGOs;

c. General public to sensitise them on the sustainable water use and the NCWR solutions that can be easily and cost effectively applied at domestic and community level.

During the Alter Aqua Programme in 2012, four Rainwater Harvesting systems were installed in public schools, Sannat Primary School, Gharb Primary School, Kercem Primary School and Zebbug Primary School.

The water collected is reused for toilet flushing saving a large amount of potable water. Five Rainwater Harvesting Systems were reinstated as follows in Xaghra Primary School, Sannat Primary School, San Lawrenz Primary School and at the Experimental Farm.

Educational activities started in May 2012 and were organised by NTM and MEdIES in kindergartens and primary schools of Gozo. There were 589 students who participated. Teachers, in total 208, were trained in after-school training sessions, as well as in a 3-day teacher training workshop in July implemented in Gozo and in an Alter Aqua seminar held in Malta in November.

A Training Workshop for Technicians also took place in Gozo attracting 16 engineers and professionals from the construction industry from Gozo and even from Malta.

Find out more in the one year report here

For more information kindly contact Ms. Konstantina Toli, Alter Aqua Coordinator, GWP-Med, at: konstantina@gwpmed.org

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