The fourth phase of the Alter Aqua project was launched with great success on Wednesday 15 March 2023, in a conference held at Esplora, Kalkara. Building on the achievements of the previous Alter Aqua phases (I – III), funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation through a number of grants totalling USD 1.4 million since 2011, the event brought together several initiatives and ongoing projects promoting the use of Non-Conventional Water Resources (NCWR) across the Mediterranean, exploring their potential contribution to Malta’s water security.

The event was addressed by the Minister for Environment, Energy and Enterprise, Miriam Dalli. Additionally, several other prominent speakers from Alter Aqua’s partners also took the stage, including Maria Micallef, CEO of GSD Marketing Ltd, Sofia Kilifi, Sustainability and Community Manager at The Coca-Cola Company, representatives from Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean, Manuel Sapiano, CEO of the Energy and Water Agency, and Glenn Bedingfield, Chairman of the Kottonera Foundation.

The launch event attracted participants from different sectors, including the public and the private sector, academia and NGOs. Throughout the day, a range of thought-provoking presentations and panel discussions were organized, providing a platform for stakeholders to express their views on the significance of rainwater harvesting and other NCWR applications, which, as was made clear by Mr. Sapiano, ‘are an absolute necessity for Malta, given the relative lack of naturally occurring freshwater resources’.

The 2023 ALTERAQUA project aims to restore historic underground reservoirs in the Three Cities that date back to the 17th century, establishing a collaboration with the Kottonera Foundation and the local councils of the Three Cities. The reservoirs will be selected based on several factors, including their use, size, accessibility, and cultural and historical value.

This year, the Alter Aqua project will also delve into the social aspect of water and will host a workshop for young students to help them learn about our water culture history and the importance of water conservation. Additionally, the project will include a captivating “reservoir trail” in the Kottonera region, complete with conveniently placed QR codes. The primary objective of this trail is to provide visitors with a more interactive and engaging experience, allowing them to explore the invisible underground structure beneath their feet. The reservoir trail is being developed in collaboration with the University of Malta, and with the support of NGO Il-Ġibjun.

Over the years, the Alter Aqua project has benefited over 74,400 individuals in Malta, conserving more than 19 million litres of water annually, which is equivalent to the monthly water consumption of over 1,000 families in Malta.

During the conference, were also presented and disseminated other projects’ case studies and demonstrations applied within the Maltese territory and in synergy with the Alter Aqua’s experience of promoting non-conventional water resources on the island, such as the MEDWAYCAP project (funded by the ENI CBC MED Programme) and its itinerant exhibition, designed to travel around the Mediterranean and tell the story of different case studies and good practices on the reuse of treated wastewater in unconventional forms.

The Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean leads the design and implementation of the Alter Aqua project in partnership with the Energy and Water Agency and the Coca-Cola system in Malta (GSD Marketing Ltd. and The Coca-Cola Company). This philanthropic public-private partnership has been funded consistently for 12 years by The Coca-Cola Foundation, with contributions also by the Energy and Water Agency.

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