The Alter Aqua Programme celebrates four years of achievements
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The Alter Aqua Programme celebrated four years of achievements on World Water Day 2016.
Alter Aqua has made a significant impact throughout 2011-2015 in the Maltese Islands, in promoting the use of non conventional water resources (NCWR), such as rainwater harvesting, stormwater management, greywater recycling and treated wastewater reuse, as a sustainable way to increase water availability and adapt to climate change at local level.
The programme was initiated by the regional organisation Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med) and implemented in partnership with the Ministry for Energy & Health, the Sustainable Energy & Water Conservation Unit, the Ministry for Gozo, the ecoGozo Project and The Coca-Cola Foundation with the support of the Coca-Cola System in Malta (The Coca-Cola Company & GSD Marketing Ltd). Its funding is primarily based on a $1,140,000 Coca-Cola Foundation Grant, plus $440,000 co-funding by the Ministry for Gozo.
In this framework, the programme has implemented significant green infrastructure works, including the installation or reinstatement of 11 rainwater harvesting systems throughout Gozo, at public school buildings, the Gozo Experimental Farm and the Ministry for Gozo; the installation of 3 greywater recycling systems at the Gozo Football Stadium, the Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology (MCAST) and the Helen Keller Resource Centre; the reinstatement of a stormwater retention application at Ramla Valley in Gozo.
One further greywater recycling system is currently being installed at the Tal-Qroqq Sports Complex' National Swimming Pool, Gzira, Malta.
Alter Aqua said that the estimated amount of water annually collected and reused, from all green infrastructure works implemented within Alter Aqua between 2011-2015 amounts to 16.7 million litres, an equivalent of the monthly water consumption of 1,000 families in Malta. Apart from the contribution to the local water budget, what is more important is the demonstration effect.
"A number of different technologies, at different scales and in various public facilities are showcased – many of them innovative and pioneering for the Maltese Islands. By selecting highly frequented as well as landmark public buildings and areas for NCWR applications, accessible to the general public, it allows insights on their specificities and benefits and enables their adoption at domestic, community and national level."
"For example the application of a greywater recycling sytem in MCAST, coupled with a green roof, apart from reusing the greywater- which became a resource instead of waste-it offers the benefits of a green roof: greener, cooler and pleasant environment."
Alter Aqua partners said that "moreover, it serves educational purposes as both the students in the water related technologies study the process but also biology and biodiversity students assess the greywater recycling potential for green roof irrigation and the green roofs' effect on the microclimate. In a different context, collecting run-off water at the Ministry for Gozo's reservoir prevents flooding while it provides water for landscaping and new forestation projects."
Application of greywater systems in sports facilities, like in the Gozo Football Stadium and the Tal-Qroqq Swimming Pool, set a paradigm of how greywater generated from showers can be recycled for toilet flushing and landscaping.
In this direction, the organisers said, "the Alter Aqua Programme has contributed to advancing the use the non conventional water resources, as reflected in the New Water Management Plan for the Maltese Islands, while it has supported the Ministry for Gozo's Sustainable Development Action Plan, as implemented in the framework of the ecoGozo project."
Alter Aqua, it said, has made a significant investment in instilling the values of sustainable water management to the next generation, training teachers and technicians, building the local authorities' capacities, raising awareness on critical water challenges and the use of NCWR to address water scarcity and climate change, as well as promoting policy dialogue at local and national level. To date, 10,358 students have participated in hands-on educational activities for sustainable development in schools, while 926 teachers have been trained and provided with the Alter Aqua Resource Pack & Educational Material, for which the Programme received a STENCIL Award for the most innovative science-related educational resources in Europe in 2013. Moreover, the Alter Aqua Video Game was developed to educate school students on the use of NCWR and water saving in everyday life.
For its holistic approach, achievements, everyday impact of the lives of more than 39,000 Maltese citizens, and provision of sustainable, practical solutions to be replicated elsewhere in the world, Alter Aqua received the second global award, as a water showcase at the 7th World Water Forum in Korea last year.