The programme started to address water scarcity in the Mediterranean. It was first launched in Greece (2008) and since then expanded in the Maltese Islands (2011), in Cyprus (2013), and in Italy (2015).
The Non Conventional Water Resources (NCWR) Programme in the Mediterranean is an award-winning initiative designed and implemented by the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med).
NCWR is a multi-stakeholder Programme promoting the partnership of public and private actors to achieve water security. With the financial support of the Coca-Cola Foundation, GWP-Med together with the national and local authorities and the Coca-Cola Systems in Greece, Cyprus and Malta, installed over 100 systems for the use of non conventional water resources in the programme countries.
Rainwater harvesting, greywater re-use and storm water management are some of the systems implemented to alleviate water crises. In recent years, the NCWR technologies have been improved by innovative techniques and methods and are serving as a cost-effective solutions for enhancing water availability and addressing water challenges at local level.
The programme projects are tailored to meet local needs and can be easily replicated in other water-scarce communities across the Mediterranean and beyond. The goal of each NCWR project is to demonstrate the potential of non conventional water resources and the positive impact for the community now and in the long run.
With the climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy in mind the NCWR Programme offers a holistic approach towards NCWR management, including:
- Demonstration of NCWR systems at a local level;
- Educational activities and material for students and teachers;
- Awareness raising activities emphasizing at a new water culture;
- Regional policy dialogue on the value of NCWR systems;
- Capacity building initiatives for targeted stakeholders.
Programme in Italy
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The Programme in Italy is implemented in of Sicily since 2017, by the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med), in partnership with the Citrus District of Sicily (Distretto Produttivo Agrumi di Sicilia), the University of Catania and Coca-Cola Italy. The Programme is funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation through a four-year grant (2014-2018).
Aims & Objectives:
The NCWR Programme in Italy aims to showcase sustainable solutions for urban water management and sustainable agriculture, that can be further replicated and upscaled.
The Programme objectives in Italy are:
- To advance the use of non conventional water resources, as sustainable, innovative and cost-effective solutions towards climate change adaptation at a local level.
- To increase green – blue infrastructure
- To raise awareness among youth on sustainable urban water management and agriculture.
- To train local farmers on the use of modern ICT systems for sustainable farming, and build their capacity to use and install such systems and share their expertise at a local level.
- To promote multi-stakeholder partnerships with the shared value to contribute to local water security.
- To promote local knowledge and sharing of experiences on aspects of urban water management and sustainable agriculture.
NCWR Activities in Italy
The NCWR Programme, through its holistic approach, focuses on three main pillars of action.
1 – Pilot Applications
- Installation of a green roof of 813m2 at the teaching building of the Department of Civil Engineering located at the campus “Cittadella Universitaria – S.Sofia” of the University of Catania.
A green roof will be installed at a new one-storey building of the Civil Engineering Department of the University of Catania. The green roof at the new building will offer multiple benefits, including increasing urban green, improving the microclimate and management of stormwater. It will consist of xerophyte Mediterranean plant species that require small quantities of water. An auxiliary irrigation system will be installed to guarantee the survival of the plants during dry periods of few or none rainfall events.
The installation of the green roof will also act as a demonstration project for engineering and architecture students, creating future professionals that can promote green-blue infrastructure and modern technologies that improve the urban water cycle.
2 – Application of ICT technology for sustainable citrus fruit farming in Sicily
- In the context of the current Internet of Things (IoT) global trend, this pilot project will offer a tool for increasing efficiency in water management through the (initial) involvement of about 20 citrus fruit farms, with a potential of expansion upon request. The objective is to optimise resource use, such as water and energy, and maximise the citrus farming productivity (more crop per drop).The project will involve about 20 citrus fruit producers that will have a set of sensors installed on their land, in order to monitor soil water moisture, water use, and related energy consumption, as well as climate variables that will allow for the computation of hydrological parameters. Measurement data will be transmitted to an online platform that will provide information on timing and volumes of water applications to optimise the use of water and energy resources, with direct positive impacts on costs and crop productivity. Each farmer will have individual access on a user-interface and will be able to create a profile with their specific data (land, type of crops, number of trees, etc.) and will receive personalised information to optimise irrigation in their farms. The platform can be accessed by users on laptop/PC. Farmers will be trained during dedicated capacity building workshops on how to use the platform effectively.
3 – Capacity Building
- Capacity building workshops for farmers on sustainable irrigation practices.
- Trainings for business and technical professionals on blue – green infrastructure and NCWR technologies.
4 – Awareness Raising
- Sensitize the general public on sustainable water use and NCWR applications that can be applied as cost-effective solutions.
The District has already been shown to the issues of sustainable water management with the organization of an in-depth seminar within the Social Farming 2.0 project.
The Agrorà portal wanted to create a virtual place to connect companies to professionals in order to support the Sicilian citrus area