International Symposium “Policies and Techniques for a Sustainable Present”
Reclaimed Water, its Sustainable uses and the Artificial Aquifer Recharge has been placed at the core of an International Symposium, gathering International Institutions and Experts in Tunis, from October 1st to 3rd. The event has represented a turning point of the Communication Campaign “Any Drop of Water” developed by IMPROWARE with the three-folded aim to broaden the Tunisian and Egyptian participation to the issues tackled by the project; to give bottom-up inputs to the technical teams and to put in place an “adaptive strategy” to the project; and to spread the ongoing project results.
The Symposium, availing itself of the contributions of significant experts coming from Europe, North-Africa, the Middle East, the U.S. and India, has certainly contributed to the extensive dissemination of interesting topics concerning the intersections occurring between Sustainable Water Management Practices and the related possible Policies to be adopted in the Southern Mediterranean Region.
The topics raised have ranged: from the challenges bound to the deterioration of aquifers caused by saltwater intrusion due to the double pressure of over-exploitation and Climate Change to in-depth insights – and cases - on cost-effective, environmental friendly and easily replicable pilot models; from the Waste Water treatment methodologies and the innovative means to increasingly integrate the reuse of Waste Water within the planning and the development of Water Management. The Symposium has moved from the illustration of results and lessons learnt during the implementation of IMPROWARE, as an important case within EU-SWIM Framework, up to the identification of an array of operational models to enhance the project performances in the issue of water.
The symposium was also the occasion to present some pro-active models that IMPROWARE has built during its life: models that could be, in future, very useful for the EC in implementing future SWIM Projects.
A preliminary session dealing with the three main topics covered by the IMPROWARE E-Learning Programme was held at the presence of researchers and tutors of the Programme dealing with scientific, legislative and socio-economic aspects of Waste Water Management. IMPROWARE has symbolically delivered diplomas to two Tunisian "expert-students". The session has also been the occasion to launch a second call for scientific contributions, to continue fostering and increasing the scientific dialogue on these very important matters.
On October 2nd a number of International high-level participants have gathered, with the aim of giving a significant contribution to three sessions on:
1- Practices, Policy, Regulations and Technical Guidelines on the use of Reclaimed Water,
2- Hydrogeological and Geo-physical investigations,
3- Constructed Wetlands, and Artificial Aquifer Recharge (AAR)
All the presentations are now available at www.improware.eu
The morning has further been the scenario for two remarkable sessions, one with the participation of experts of the SWIM Support Mechanism and a second one, promoting Public Participation on Public Awareness giving voice to relevant stakeholders from Tunisia Civil Society and from Egypitian NGOs, involving students, attending the one-year Tunisian Campaign “Any Drop of Water”, on the horizon of the UN/ECE Aarhus Convention (the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea is in fact the Focal Point of the Convention and is among its main active partners). It was the occasion to link IMPROWARE’s participatory activities within an International framework that is based on stakeholders’ information and active involvement.
On October 3rd the synopsis of the two technical sessions has offered the basis for an interesting high-level Roundtable including representatives of the participating Institutions, experts and the IMPROWARE stakeholders. The discussion has linked in-field Practices and the constraints met by the implementation of IMPROWARE and other ongoing Projects to emerging Policies.
The main aim of the Symposium was to offer Operational Models providing the discussion with practical points of view. Moving from the original model planned (traditional aquifer recharge means compared to Innovative ones), an adaptive strategy revealed to be necessary, provided that a full participatory approach would be able to produce a real change, in terms of gained public awareness. In the Symposium, the change model was presented by Mr. Emad Adly, showing how “thinking out of the box” could provide innovation and change shifting from debating of issues to an effective action driven by the will to make the issues developed and – wherever possible - settled.