On 1 July 2020, more than 30 local planners, national experts and stakeholders took part in the online Consultation Meeting on the new Wastewater Management Decision Support Tool (WEMDST), a Pilot project in the frame of the GEF Drin Project. Modelled on the case of Shkodra city, the WEMDST assists the planning of new wastewater treatment plants and solutions on catchment or city level, helping to identify environmentally efficient and cost-efficient solutions.
Mayor Voltana Ademi, who on behalf of Shkodra municipality has been directly involved in the tool’s planning and development, expressed her thanks to everyone involved and stated that “this example will be helpful as a model for implementation in the next years, providing a good basis for analysis and improvement.” Ms Ademi also stressed the importance of the tool in communicating planning decisions transparently: “We can use this model to present scenarios and calculations, helping people of all backgrounds to understand the costs and benefits of wastewater treatment alternative options.".
In his introductory remarks, Dimitris Faloutsos, Drin Project Coordinator and Deputy Regional Coordinator, GWP-Med, noted that: “The Drin riparians are engaged in a wide-ranging effort for the protection and sustainable development of the Drin basin, which culminated in the recent endorsement of the Drin Strategic Action Programme. We take great pride in seeing that Mayor Ademi and Shkodra Municipality find this decision support tool, which was developed as a pilot demonstration activity, useful in relation to their efforts to address pollution in the wider Shkodra area.”
The online consultation was facilitated by Ms Erjola Keci, Senior Programme Officer, Country Officer for Albania of the GEF/UNDP Drin Project, GWP-Med. Ms Keci invited experts from LIMNOS company, who have been in charge of the technical development of WEMSDT, to go through a step-by-step demonstration of the WEMSDT user-friendly web interface, which makes accessible information on the current state of river quality in the Drin river and predicts river quality and indicative investment and operating infrastructure costs for various scenarios. The presentations were followed by lively discussion and insightful comments on various aspects of its practical implementation.
The input provided by the stakeholders will be considered for the finalization of appropriate solutions related to wastewater management. The tool will be accompanied by a “user manual” and respective trainings targeting users and planners in the four Drin riparian countries.
The Wastewater Management Decision Support Tool (WEMDST) was developed as part of the pilot project addressing wastewater related issues in the Drin river basin, in the frame of the Global Environment Facility Project “Enabling Transboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resources Management in the Extended Drin River Basin” (Drin Project). It is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and executed by the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med). United Nations Economic Commission (UNECE) is a partner in this process.