Alter Aqua programme proven to be a “best practice” multi-stakeholder partnership in the Mediterranean that has benefited 30,000 Maltese citizens
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 (NCWR) are complementary water supplies, such rainwater and stormwater which can be harvested, treated waste water 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.
During a press conference to give a round-up of what has been achieved so far, Minister for Gozo Anton Refalo said the Alter Aqua programme fits perfectly with the government’s vision towards a sustainable island. The programme has increased trust from private investors and has contributed to Gozo securing additional funds for other sustainability projects. The Ministry for Gozo, in this regard, has implemented and shall continue with the implementation of activities aimed at increasing the island’s rainwater harvesting potential through the cleaning of valleys and the reinstatement of reservoirs.
“An interesting characteristic of this programme is that it has achieved a synergy among public/private stakeholders and an international organisation, to successfully conclude a significant number of tangible demonstration projects closely linked with the society through applications and educational programmes in schools and further training for technicians. This has created multiple benefits for students, the community and the environment,” emphasised Prof. Scoullos, Chairman of the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean.
In total, through the Alter Aqua programme, 4 rainwater harvesting systems were installed in schools in Kerċem, Sannat, Żebbuġ and Għarb; 6 rainwater harvesting systems were reinstated in schools in Sannat, Xagħra, San Lawrenz and the Gozo Experimental Farm, a greywater 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.
“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.
Katerina Kypreou, Corporate Communication Supervisor, Coca-Cola Greece, Cyprus, Malta, stated: “Sustainability is at the heart of the Coca-Cola story and we work together with our bottling partners, such as The General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd, to build more sustainable communities, because we know our business can only be as healthy, vibrant and resilient as the communities we proudly serve. At Coca-Cola, water constitutes one of our top 3 sustainability priorities as it is the biggest part of our supply chain, the main ingredient in all of our beverages and essential to our manufacturing processes. That is why we continue to support water stewardship programmes, such as Alter Aqua, that increase water availability and make a meaningful difference in the daily lives of the people of Malta”.
Moreover, the Alter Aqua interactive online game was launched, a special application designed for children as well as adults to audit water consumption and promote the use of NCWR at domestic level and water saving in everyday life.
Alter Aqua’s further phase will be announced during the National Consultation on NCWR Management, in the framework of the National Water Management Plan for the Maltese Islands to take place tomorrow, May 6, at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Vallettta.
About the Alter Aqua Programme
Alter Aqua is a programme on Non Conventional Water Resources (NCWR) in Malta, which aims to advance the utilisation of non-conventional water resources, such as rainwater harvesting, storm water management, grey water and treated wastewater reuse, as a sustainable way for water availability and climate change adaptation in the water scarce Maltese islands.
Alter Aqua is a multi-stakeholder programme, which commenced its activities in the island of Gozo in 2011, bringing together the Global Water Partnership - Mediterranean (GWP-Med), the Ministry for Gozo and the Eco-Gozo project, The Coca-Cola Foundation and The General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd. This initiative benefits from an $800,000 grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, plus co-funding of $440,000 by the Ministry for Gozo. The programme’s activities are implemented in collaboration with the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE), the Mediterranean Education Initiative for Environment and Sustainability (ΜΕdIES Secretariat), Nature Trust Malta and the EkoSkola Programme.
For further information, please contact: Konstantina Toli, GWP-Med, Alter Aqua Coordinator, at (+30 2103247267, +30 210 3247490, firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Coca-Cola System in Malta
The Coca-Cola System in Malta includes The Coca-Cola Company in Malta and The General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd (GSD). The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) is the world's largest beverage company, offering consumers more than 500 sparkling and still brands in more than 200 countries. GSD is TCCC’s national bottling partner offering a wide range of sparkling and still brands. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, Coca-Cola in Malta is focused on initiatives that reduce the company’s environmental footprint, promote water stewardship, support active, healthy living, and enhance the economic development of the communities where it operates. Through The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company’s global philanthropic arm, we partner with organisations around the globe to support initiatives and programmes that respond in a meaningful way to community needs and priorities with a focus on four key areas: Water Stewardship, Healthy and Active Lifestyles, Community Recycling and Education. For more information on The Coca-Cola Foundation, please visit: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/our-company/the-coca-cola-foundation.