March 22nd is World Water Day. Normally during this day many events take place worldwide to create awareness for a theme linked to water and the importance of the conservation and sustainable management of one of our most precious natural resources. In times of COVID, the Energy and Water Agency is focusing its national campaign, ‘Water – Be the Change’, on online resources.
The notion for this international day goes back to 1992, the year in which the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro took place. That same year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by which 22 March of each year was declared World Day for Water, to be observed starting in 1993. World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the global water crisis, and a core focus of the observance is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal: clean water and sanitation for all by 2030.
The international theme of World Water Day 2021 is valuing water. The value of water is much more than its price – water has an enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics, and for our natural environment to thrive. This theme is in line with the message continuously emphasised by the Energy and Water Agency on all local media platforms and social media, on the importance of water conservation in the Maltese islands.
Malta’s nationwide campaign on water conservation
The national campaign, ‘Water – Be the Change’, was launched in September 2019 with the aim of delivering an effective educational and awareness-raising campaign on the optimised and efficient use of water resources to facilitate a cultural shift in people’s behaviour towards water conservation on the Maltese Islands. The campaign is targeting the domestic, commercial, and agricultural sectors and is being supported by a nationwide distribution drive called the ‘Join the Drops’ tours, which has already reached thirty different localities in Malta and Gozo.
During the past months, occupants in primary residences of the localities covered so far received a water-saving gift pack on behalf of the water consumption campaign. This gift pack serves as an introduction on how to consume water more efficiently.
The pack includes an aerator, which reduces the flow of water while maintaining the right pressure, and a plate scraper, which makes dirty dishes easier to clean, whether in a sink or a dishwasher. It also includes an information leaflet with water-saving tips and a voucher that can be redeemed against a second bigger water conservation kit. This second kit includes five water-saving gadgets, such as a low-flow showerhead, that are easy to install and are guaranteed to reduce water consumption without comprising on quality and water pressure.
All vouchers can be redeemed from the mobile unit which is being stationed in a central location in a different locality every weekend, or at the campaign’s information office located at Għajn, the national water conservation awareness centre in Rabat, which offers interactive experiences on the need for the conservation of water, and a wealth of useful information on Malta’s water resources.
Applying different measures for different situations
Over the past months, the campaign for Malta’s National Water Conservation, have been investing its time in improving the water use effectiveness in several households with the objective to motivate an overall measurable reduction in the annual water demand and to establish national water-efficient benchmarks. Those interested to participate in this project can submit an online form, when visiting the campaign’s portal, www.water.org.mt. Technical Officers forming part of this nationwide campaign, ‘Water – Be the change’, will visit your home to evaluate your water consumption and discuss measures that can be undertaken to improve water use efficiency.
It’s important to note that such procedures can include a variety of actions such as the replacement of water use points or appliances, the rehabilitation works on cisterns, or the replacement of leaking water pipes. The campaign will fund the execution of an agreed set of measures thus making sure that your home will be more water-efficient.
The ‘Water, Be The Change’ campaign is also supporting up to 150 farmers in Malta and Gozo in utilizing their water resources in a more efficient and ecological way, ensuring better use of water consumption and collection, as well as diminishing the cost of production of water for this vital sector. The eligible applicants are receiving an assessment of their premises, existing water consumption, and how water is collected, and will learn about ways to make their water consumption more efficient.
Technical Officers from the campaign will visit the agricultural holding to gauge the water intake on-site and review what measures can be undertaken in order to improve water efficiency. Measures such as improving the existing irrigation system and installing soil moisture sensors or more rehabilitation works on a rainwater harvesting reservoir will be undertaken by the campaign.
Conserving water during this pandemic
Water is a limited resource, and water conservation requires forethought and effort, but every little bit helps! Let’s be positive and never think that what we do does not matter. We can still conserve water even during COVID-19. We can all make changes in our lifestyles to reduce our water usage, and this particular time can be an opportunity to start off new and good habits, which will help us conserve and save water. The trick is making water conservation a way of life—not just something we think about once in a while. Be the Change!
Anyone interested in learning more about their water consumption and how to become more efficient can visit the water.org.mt website to get water-saving tips or to book a house visit.