$1.2m for improved water efficiency and management

Alter Aqua programme proven to be a “best practice” multi-stakeholder partnership in the Mediterranean

Staff Reporter
6 May 2014, 8:38am
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.

The Alter Aqua programme in Gozo has created a best case practice to be replicated in other water-scarce communities in Malta and the wider Mediterranean region. In this sense, the Alter Aqua partners proudly presented the project’s achievements,” said Anthony Zammit, Director of EcoGozo Regional Development at the Ministry for Gozo, referring to the Ministry’s sustainable vision for Gozo, as well as Alter Aqua’s role in that.

“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.”

In total, through the Alter Aqua programme, four rainwater harvesting systems were installed in schools in Kerċem, Sannat, Żebbuġ and Għarb. Six rainwater harvesting systems were reinstated in schools in Sannat, Xagħra, San Lawrenz and the Gozo Experimental Farm and a grey water reuse system was installed at the Gozo Football Stadium.

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.