Local workshop promoting efficient water use in Malta
The Ministry for Gozo considers water as an important resource and it undertakes several initiatives to increase rainwater harvesting and also to reduce water consumption. In this regard, the Ministry for Gozo is one of seven partners participating in an EU funded project with the title Sustainable Domestic Water use in the Mediterranean Region (SWMED). Activities being implemented under this project by this Ministry include the distribution of water saving kits to Gozitan households and the organisation of information sessions to local stakeholders.
A Workshop promoting efficient water use in Malta was held on Tuesday 14 May 2013 in Gozo as part of this project. This activity had the scope of bringing together stakeholders interested in increasing the efficient use of water resources and to create a platform for sharing ideas on this subject. Present for this workshop were representatives from the Ministry for Gozo, the Ministry for Energy and Conservation of Water, the Water Services Corporation, as well as a number of Gozitan mayors and chairpersons of Administrative Committees.
During the opening speech, Dr Grazio Mercieca, Chief of Staff at the Ministry for Gozo, highlighted the importance of this project and how it will result in savings on both water consumption and utility bills. The SWMED project is in line with the government policy to ensure the country’s sustainable use of resources. Representatives from the Ministry for Gozo and the Ministry for Energy and Conservation of Water also gave presentations regarding water related initiatives being carried out within the EcoGozo Regional Development Directorate, a description of the SWMED project and an analysis of the initial results of this pilot project.
The Ministry for Gozo, under the SWMED project, has carried out a door to door distribution of around 30,000 water saving devices grouped in 12,000 kits to all occupied Gozitan households. Each locality received a different water saving kit which included a mix from: shower timers, flow meter bags, kitchen swivel variable aerators, shower heads, shower switches, kitchen and bathroom aerators and toilet tank bags. Those families who still have not received their kits are invited to bring the voucher together with their ID card and collect their respective kit from the EcoGozo Regional Development Directorate offices at the Ministry for Gozo. This initiative will act as a pilot project for the planning of future national water efficiency management campaigns.
The SWMED project is co-financed under the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument CrossBorder Cooperation Mediterranean Programme (ENPI CBC MED) and the Ministry for Gozo was allocated a budget of around €120,000 with a co-financing rate of 90% to implement this project.
This Ministry has also embarked on other projects aiming at conserving this scarce resource. A number of valleys around Gozo have been cleaned, resulting in the collection of more rain water. Such activity has positive effects on the natural landscape and increases benefits to the agricultural sector. Moreover, following the reception of a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation, the Ministry for Gozo is implementing a multi-stakeholder programme on Non Conventional Water Resources, also known as Alter Aqua. This innovative project is bringing together the Global Water Partnership Mediterranean (GWP-Med), the Ministry for Gozo (MGOZ) with the ecoGozo Program, and the Coca-Cola System in Malta (Coca-Cola Malta and General Soft Drinks Co. Ltd). Activities are also implemented in collaboration with Nature Trust Malta (NTM) and the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE). Initiatives under the Alter Aqua project include the installation and reinstatement of a number of water reservoirs in selected public buildings and areas, with special focus on schools and the organisation of educational campaigns aimed at raising awareness on the application of Non Conventional Water Resources (NCWR) and sustainable water use.