The Malta Independent 27 September 2023, Wednesday
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Joint $1.24M investment for improving efficiency and responsible water use

Malta Independent Monday, 5 May 2014, 18:41 Last update: about 10 years ago

The Alter Aqua Programme has received a grant of $800,000 from the Coca-Cola Foundation and further co-funding of $440,000 from the Ministry for Gozo, in order to increase availability through rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse, while raising public awareness on the importance of responsible water use and conservation in the island of Gozo.

Alter Aqua is a multi-stakeholder, two-phase programme which has brought together the Ministry for Gozo and the Eco-Gozo Project, the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean, the Coca-Cola Foundation and the General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd., the local bottling partner of all brands of The Coca-Cola Company in Malta.

The aim of the Alter Aqua programme is to harvest rainwater, manage storm water and reuse grey water in selected public buildings and areas, while increasing public awareness on the importance of responsible water use and conservation. The programme’s activities are implemented in collaboration with Nature Trust Malta, the Ekoskola Programme and the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development.

“With limited freshwater resources, further depleted as a result of climate change, Malta suffers from water scarcity and heavily depends on desalination to tackle its water deficit,” says Maria Micallef, Chief Operations Officer at The General Soft Drinks. “In this context, the mobilisation of Non-Conventional Water Resources (NCWR), such as rainwater harvesting and reuse of grey water, aimed at increasing water availability in a sustainable, cost-effective way and promoting a new water culture, is crucial at both local and national level.”

Non-Conventional Water Resources are complementary water supplies, such rainwater and stormwater which can be harvested, treated waste water[1] and desalinated water.

The Alter Aqua Programme uses a holistic approach to pursue its main aim to advance the utilisation of NCWR in Malta, to secure water availability and facilitate sustainable development. Furthermore, the Alter Aqua programme supports Eco-Gozo, the Local Sustainable Development Strategy for the Island of Gozo to become an eco-island, and demonstrates new NCWR technologies.

During this phase, the programme mainly focused on three pillars of action: Infrastructural works for the application of NCWR technologies; education of the young generation on the importance of responsible and sustainable water use in schools; technician and local authority capacity building and training; and general public awareness-raising.

In total, through the Alter Aqua programme, 4 rainwater harvesting systems were installed in schools in Kercem, Sannat, Zebbug and Gharb; 6 rainwater harvesting systems were reinstated in schools in Sannat, Xaghra, San Lawrenz and the Gozo Experimental Farm, a grey water reuse system was installed at the Gozo Football Stadium and a storm water management application was implemented in Ramla Valley, where rubble walls were constructed along the valley for storm water retention for increased rainwater capacity for irrigation purposes for agriculture,  aquifer recharge and soil retention.

Approximately 3,200 students were educated about sustainable water management and consumption, 255 teachers were trained and a STENCIL Award was given to the school programme for the best science-related innovative education material in Malta. Furthermore, 48 technicians were trained, 18 stakeholders participated in the capacity-building workshops, while it is estimated that there have been a total of 30,000 beneficiaries from the NCWR systems and awareness-raising communications.

[1]Treated waste water includes grey water which comes from sinks, showers and washing machines at home;  and black water coming from toilets, which can be treated to produce water for specific secondary uses

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