Alter Aqua Programme celebrates 19 years of achievements on World Water Day

Alter Aqua celebrates 19 years of achievements in the realm of non conventional water resources

Alter Aqua has celebrated 19 years of achievements on the occasion of World Water Day.

The company has made a significant impact  in promoting the use of non-conventional water resources 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

Alter Aqua, a sustainability programme for water was launched in Malta in 2001 and with the support of a grant of $800,000 from the Coca-Cola Foundation and further co-funding of $440,000 from the Ministry for Gozo.

This was done 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.

This programme which is implemented by the NGO Global Water Partnership Mediterranean in collaboration with the Energy and Water Agency and the support of GSD Marketing Ltd which is an independent CocaCola bottler and are the sole licensed bottler for products of The Coca-Cola Company in Malta.

In the first phase of this project, the Alter Aqua programme installed four rainwater harvesting systems in the schools of Kerċem, Sannat, Żebbuġ and Għarb. Six rainwater harvesting systems were reinstated in schools of Sannat, Xagħra, San Lawrenz and one at the Gozo Experimental Farm. A greywater reuse system was installed at the Gozo Football Stadium. Moreover, a stormwater management application was implemented in Ramla Valley, where rubble walls were constructed along the valley for stormwater retention, for increased rainwater capacity, for irrigation purposes, for agriculture, aquifer recharge and soil retention.

This successful project was renewed and received a further grant of $200,000. Three greywater recycling systems were installed at the Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology (MCAST) and the Helen Keller Resource Centre and the Tal-Qroqq Sports Complex’ National Swimming Pool, Gzira, Malta.

Furthermore, a historic rainwater reservoir at San Anton Palace has been restored and is now used to irrigate the palace's orange groves. This reservoir, which can hold more than one million litres of water, was restored after lying dormant for over 30 years.

Alter Aqua goes beyond infrastructural projects by also focussing on educational campaigns aimed at raising awareness on the application of non-conventional water resources and sustainable water use in our schools. The programme’s activities were implemented in collaboration with Nature Trust Malta, the Ekoskola Programme and the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development. Through this educational programme, since 2011: 15,060 students were educated on sustainable development in schools, 1,380 teachers have been trained. 

Due to the positive impact and success of these projects, the Alter Aqua program received a further grant of $300,000 in 2020, bringing the total support from The Coca-Cola Foundation to $1.3 million. Three sites were identified: a historical water reservoir in Birgu, 3 water reservoirs in Kalkara and a reservoir at Rinella. The reservoirs in Kalkara have been restored at the end of 2020 and will be used for the irrigation of a garden being rehabilitated through national funds. The reservoir at Rinella will be used for the Irrigation of trees and other landscaping activities around the Rinella fort.

This project has positively impacted the lives of around 15% of the Maltese population by collecting and reusing close to 18 million litres of water on an annual basis – an equivalent of the monthly consumption of water for over 1,000 families in Malta.

Furthermore, GSD marketing Ltd, is always looking to reduce the amount of water used in the manufacturing of drinks and there are systems in place to measure the Company’s water usage and identify ways to reduce this. Over the past years, the Company has successfully implemented various process improvements which have resulted in an annual reduction of 31,000 cubic metres of water. Over the past few years, the Company has also reduced the water use ratio by over 8 %. This is an ongoing process and GSD Marketing Ltd will continue to invest in order to find innovative ways to reduce water usage.