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Alter Aqua programme placed second at the 7th World Water Forum

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Alter Aqua programme placed second at the 7th World Water ForumAlter Aqua, the Maltese part of the Non Conventional Water Resources (NCWR) Programme in the Mediterranean, a multi-stakeholder programme with activities in water scarce insular communities in Greece, Malta, Cyprus and Italy, was ranked 2nd globally at the Water Showcase World Final of the 7th World Water Forum in Korea recently, among 115 water programme showcases from around the world.

The World Water Forum is the largest international event which seeks to advance the cause of water, gathering officials, legislators and local and regional authorities from more than 150 nations.

This success for Alter Aqua is a solid proof of international recognition by the global water community for its practical contribution towards water security and climate change adaptation at local level in the Maltese islands, as well as its potential to be replicated in other water scarce areas in the world, adding to a long list of achievements over the years of the programme’s implementation.

The NCWR Programme was the only non-Asian showcase, with strong competition from India, South Korea, Bangladesh and Indonesia. It was initially shortlisted among the nine global finalists and was placed second in a selection by jury at the Water Showcase World Final.

The audience onsite voting based on the showcase presentation and the display of a poster effectively summarising the programme activities and achievements, also had a weighting on the ranking.

Alter Aqua, as part of the NCWR Programme in the Mediterranean, is designed and implemented by the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med), in partnership with the Ministry for Gozo (MGOZ) and the Eco-Gozo Project, the Ministry for Energy & Health and its Sustainable Energy & Water Conservation Unit, as well as the Coca-Cola System in Malta (Coca-Cola Malta and General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd), with the collaboration of Nature Trust Malta (NTM) and the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE).

The Programme, with the financial support of 1.14 million US dollars from the Coca-Cola Foundation, along co-financing of 440,000 US dollars from the Ministry for Gozo, has showcased that NCWR can contribute to the local water budget by demonstrating new and innovative technologies, educating students, training teachers and local technicians and raising awareness on sustainable water use, through a multi-stakeholder partnership model.

“Being ranked in the second position of the water showcase world final is a proof of acknowledgement that the NCWR programme constitutes a NCWR management paradigm which can be adapted and replicated in water scarce communities, not only in the Mediterranean but also around the world,” stated Prof. Michael Scoullos, Chairman of the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean.

Since 2011, Alter Aqua in the Maltese islands carried out considerable infrastructural work including a combined greywater recycling system and pilot green roof at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology,.

10 rainwater harvesting systems installed and reinstated in public school buildings in Gozo: Four innovative rainwater harvesting systems (reservoirs) were installed in Gozitan schools (Kercem, Sannat, Zebbug and Gharb) and Six rainwater harvesting systems (reservoirs) in Gozitan schools and educational places were restored (Sannat, Xaghra, San Lawrenz and Government Experimental Farm)

A greywater recycling system was installed at the Gozo Football Stadium and a stormwater retention application at the Ramla Valley in Gozo.

It can also boast substantial work in instilling the values of sustainable water management to the next generation through its educational activities: 6,640 students have participated in hands-on educational activities for sustainable development in schools, while 525 teachers have been trained and provided with the Alter Aqua educational material, for which the programme received a STENCIL Award for the most innovative science-related educational resources in Europe in 2013.

Last, but not least, Alter Aqua said that it supports the Ministry for Gozo’s Sustainable Development Action Plan, as implemented in the framework of the ecoGozo project, and contributes to the development of the National Water Management Plan for the Maltese islands.

To raise awareness on Alter Aqua’s contribution to address Gozo’s critical water scarcity challenge, the programme has worked on the development of www.gozowater.com, a website dedicated to the stories of people benefiting from the green infrastructure solutions it provides and the impact it has on educating future generations on the value of preserving the island’s water security and way of life.

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