The Alter Aqua Programme was initiated in November 2011 to help the Maltese Islands combat water scarcity and raise awareness on sustainable methods to protect freshwater resources. This program is implemented by the NGO Global Water Partnership Mediterranean. Activities commenced in Gozo and since then expanded to Malta. In January 2014 the Energy and Water Agency joined the programme as a new partner.
In a span of 12 years, over 25 sites have received assistance through the Alter Αqua programme which received a total funding of $1.4 million from The Coca-Cola Foundation.
Rainwater Harvesting & Grey Water Recycling
Phase 1 was launched in Gozo in 2011 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 programme focused 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.
In this 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 agriculture irrigation purposes, aquifer recharge and soil retention.
This successful project was renewed in 2013 and received a further grant of $200,000. Three greywater recycling systems were installed at the Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology (MCAST); 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 and 1,380 teachers have been trained.