The works took place in the framework of the Non Conventional Water Resources (NCWR) Programme in Cyprus “Mission Water” that is implemented by the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med) and the Coca-Cola System in Cyprus (Lanitis Bros and The Coca-Cola Company), with a $680,000 funding for 2013-2017, from the Coca-Cola Foundation in Atlanta, USA. The Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE)/ MEdIES Secretariat and the Cyprus Pedagogic Institute have been collaborating for the Programme’s educational activities.
Four public schools and three centers of environmental education were included in the first phase of the green infrastructure works. Two schools (Linopetra High School & 6th Aglantzia Primary School), as well as two centers of environmental education – in Athalassa and Salamiou – benefited from the installation of a greywater reuse system, while in two further schools (Geri & Agios Andreas Primary Schools) the existing greywater reuse systems were reinstated, aimed at their enhanced efficiency. Finally, via a holistic approach for the leveraging of NCWR, a dual installation of a greywater reuse and a rainwater harvesting system was applied at the Pedoulas Center for Environmental Education to cover the landscaping irrigation needs.
The Minister of Education and Culture, Mr. Kostas Kadis, mentioned during his opening speech, that “Mission Water Cyprus” is a good cooperation example between social stakeholders for the promotion of the students’ – and at a more general level, the citizens’ – environmental culture. “Through such type of interventions at schools and other education spaces, we come closer to achieving a sustainable school – a challenge and objective for our educational system”, he pointed out. He also highlighted the huge significance of the educational material “Alter Aqua”, developed specifically for the Programme, that has been distributed to primary and high schools as a complementary tool for approaching the water theme in a cross-thematic way, and has been a key education and training tool. Teacher training sessions on the “Alter Aqua” educational material and methodology have been provided by the Programme for more than 210 teachers.
Water Scarcity and the NCWR potential
With Cyprus recognized as one of the two most arid European countries and the Cypriot authorities having to deal with significant water scarcity issues in places of specific importance for agriculture and ecosystem resilience, the protection and enhancement of water resources becomes a critical issue for the quality of life and economic activity. In this framework, “Mission Water Cyprus” aims to promote the utilization of NCWR, focusing on greywater reuse and rainwater harvesting, as sustainable and cost-effective solutions for enhancing available water resources and the island’s adaptation to climate change.
By applying the innovative systems, the excess water running from the taps in the selected public areas, is collected, processed and reused for garden irrigation or toilet flushing. These public areas are frequented everyday by hundreds of children, to which their teachers are showcasing the system, explaining its mode of function and the importance of leveraging the NCWRs’ huge potential for enhancing the island’s water balance. The Programme’s wider objective is the cultivation among the Cypriot students of a new, responsible and wise water consumption culture.
Training Seminar for technicians
Focusing on enhancing local technical capacity in green infrastructure, a seminar was held on December, 2nd 2014, at the Athalassa Center for Environmental Education, aimed at informing and training technicians, engineers and construction sector professionals on innovative NCWR systems and water saving technologies. More than 20 professionals from various fields participated in the seminar gaining an insight on modern technologies and materials to utilise NCWR at domestic and local level.