Programme in Malta

The Maltese Islands have limited freshwater resources and depend heavily on desalination. Therefore there is an evident need to mobilise Non Conventional Water Resources (NCWR) in order to secure water availability and facilitate sustainable development. 

The Non Conventional Water Resources Programme in Malta, also known as Alter Aqua, was initiated by the Global Water Partnership Mediterranean (GWP-Med), in partnership with the Ministry for Gozo (MGOZ), the Eco-Gozo Project and the Coca-Cola System in Malta (Coca-Cola Malta and General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd). Activities are implemented in collaboration with Nature Trust Malta (NTM) and the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE).  

Alter Aqua commenced its activities in November 2011 in Gozo primarily funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation through a two-year grant (Phase I, 2011-2013) and co-funded by the Ministry for Gozo. It expanded to the Island of Malta in January 2014, with a new partner, the Ministry for Energy and Health. The new phase of the Programme (Phase II, 2014-15) is funded through a new grant by The Coca-Cola Foundation.

Aim and Objectives

Alter Aqua aims to mobilise NCWR, as a sustainable solution to address water scarcity issues in the Island of Gozo and the Island of Malta, due to resources depletion, rising demand and climate change.

The Alter Aqua Programme’s objectives are:

- To promote NCWRs, and especially RWH and greywater reuse, as cost effective methods for water availability and climate change adaptation in the water scarce Island of Gozo

- To support the Ministry for Gozo in the water sector Sustainable Development Goals, aligned with its SD Action Plan in view of their vision for the Island of Gozo to become an eco-island by 2020 (Eco-Gozo project).

- To contribute to the development of the National Water Management Plan for the Maltese Islands

- To enhance the capacity of the local authorities to manage NCWR

- To educate students and teachers on NCWR and increase awareness on sustainable water use

- To train local technicians on the application of modern NCWR systems and materials, and build their capacity to install and/repair such systems on the islands and share their expertise at local level

- To promote knowledge and sharing of experiences on aspects of rainwater harvesting systems and approaches.

- To promote multi-stakeholder partnerships for local NCWR initiatives.

Activities

The Alter Aqua Programme, through its holistic approach, focuses on three main pillars of action:

i. NCWR applications: installation of new and reinstatement of existing NCWR systems (mainly rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse systems) in selected public buildings and areas in the Maltese Islands.

The following works were completed during the first phase of the programme (2011-2013):

  • Installations of 4 innovative rainwater harvesting systems in 4 public schools on the island of Gozo. The rainwater collected is used for toilet flushing.
  • Reinstatement of 5 existing rainwater harvesting systems in 3 schools and the Experimental Farm. The rainwater collected is used for toilet flushing in the schools and for irrigation in the Farm.
  • Construction of Rubble Walls at Ramla Valley, the largest and most fertile valley, in the Island of Gozo. The rubble walls prevent silting and ensure that the dams are kept in good condition, capturing as much rainwater as possible, thus also allowing aquifer recharge.
  • Installation of a Greywater Recycling System at the Gozo Football Stadium. The greywater treated is used for irrigation of the green football court.

The works completed in the second phase of the programme (2013-2015) are the following:

  • Installation of a Greywater Recycling System and of a green roof at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST).  The treated greywater is used to irrigate the green roof. The greywater system apart from being operational, will also serve educational purposes for students studying “Water Technologies”.
  • Reinstatement of the rainwater harvesting reservoir at the Ministry for Gozo. The collected rainwater runoff water is used for landscaping irrigation and new forestation projects.

ii.  Educational Activities

  • Development of the Alter Aqua Educational Material on NCWR by MIO-ECSDE/MEdIES secretariat, in collaboration with Nature Trust Malta, aiming to raise awareness and educate students towards sustainable water use.
  • Educational activities hands-on sessions for students in the Maltese islands aiming at raising awareness on NCWR, sustainable water use, etc. More than 3,200 students have participated in the educational activities during 1st phase of implementation (2011-2013). In the 2nd phase of the Alter Aqua programme, 3,440 students have participated in educational activities.
  • Development of the Alter Aqua Video Game. It is a helpful interactive tool to raise awareness and sensitise primary and secondary school students on the use of non conventional water resources and water saving in everyday life.
  • Education of local teachers and educators on how to apply the Alter Aqua Educational Material. In the 1st phase of the Alter Aqua Programme 255 were educated. In the 2nd phase of the Alter Aqua Programme 277 were educated.
  • Enhancement of related technical skills of local workers and technical services of local authorities, on traditional know-how as well as on modern technologies for NCWR schemes and water related innovations.

 iii. Capacity Building and Awareness Raising activities for:

  • The local and regional Councils of the Maltese Islands to enhance their capacity to manage non conventional water resources.
  • National NGOs
  • General public to sensitise them on the sustainable water use and the NCWR solutions that can be easily and cost-effectively applied at domestic and community level.

Awareness raising and dissemination of Programme results is carried out through targeted events and/or conferences. Some highlights include the following:

- The Alter Aqua Programme was included as a best practice for climate change adaptation through the use of non conventional water resources alternative water resources in the Mediterranean and was presented by GWP-Med at the 6th World Water Forum (March 12-16, 2012, Marseille, France).

- National Consultation on Non Conventional Water Resources Management in the Maltese Islands, organised by Alter Aqua in partnership with the Ministry for Energy and Health  (Valletta, May 6, 2014)

- Alter Aqua Outreach Event held in Gozo (May 5, 2014)

- Alter Aqua corner and hands-on activities in various events: Lejlet Lapsi - Notte Gozitana (Gozo, May 10- 12, 2013);  World Water Day in Malta (Valletta, March 22, 2014); Opening of the Heritage Trail (Pembroke, May 3-4, 2014)

- Presentation in various conferences, meetings and fora: 5th Beirut Water Week (May 22-23, 2014); Global Environmental Change in the Mediterranean City and the Role of Global Earth Observations Conference, (Athens, June 10-11, 2014); annual GWP Consulting Partners Meeting (Trinidad, June 27-28, 2014); Rainwater Harvesting Knowledge Exchange Forum (Saint Lucia, Caribbean, October 21-23, 2014); Greening the Islands Conference on the Italian island of Pantelleria (30-31/10/2014); Malta Water Week (Valletta, March 25-26, 2015)

- The dedicated www.gozowater.com website was developed to tell the stories of people involved in the Programme, as well as testify the Programme's contribution to Gozo's water scarcity challenge.