More than a dozen professionals among architects, engineers, agronomists and policymakers from the entire Sicily Island gathered in Ferla (Syracuse) on May 10th to participate in the first of many NAWAMED “school camps” to showcase how greywater can be collected, treated and reused.
The construction of the pilot plant at the Istituto Comprensivo Statale Valle dell’Anapo, middle school in the municipality of Ferla is nearly finalised; it represents a great opportunity to learn how nature-based solutions to treat and reuse water work and can be replicated
The event’s organisation also involved the experts from IRIDRA who designed the plant, the construction site manager, the representatives of the company in charge of the construction and had the support of the Ferla Municipality and the network of technical professionals of Syracuse.
During the day, the NAWAMED experts explained the operating parameters and the construction phases of green walls in a theoretical session, followed by direct explanations and descriptions of the construction site. The participants discovered how much different expertise is needed to successfully integrate nature-based solutions in urban contexts, merging functional, technical and aesthetic parameters.
The school camp showed the phases of a design process that brings together different skills, experiences, and professionalism, rolling out the problems and the solutions and asking for new ideas and visions of spaces able to merge aesthetic and functional values
Giuseppe Vinci, an agronomist and municipal councillor in Ferla, points out how interesting it is for municipalities to grasp the potential for money savings of sustainable solutions like this for the future.
Others participants underlined the possible barriers at the administrative level, especially in small municipalities, and cultural barriers for greywater reuse that need to be addressed. The NAWAMED team is proud to address these barriers with its activities, as for example during the “water tables” developed in the previous months.
These events are pivotal to communicating these solutions and making them technically and culturally more accessible.
Worth mentioning are the words of Francesco Giunta, the construction site manager, who experienced difficulties due to the lack of a local supply chain able to support the construction of the pilot fully, as a large part of the components and the plants themselves had to be ordered from outside Sicily or Italy.
This first pilot installation was necessary to grow professionally and foster replication.
The green wall also attracted many of the students at the school, who approached our experts with curiosity, clever questions, and enthusiasm. They also helped position the stickers to clarify the various water flows in the pilot pipes, learning how the greywater percolates through the pots and the plants, is treated and then collected in a tank to flush the school toilets.
Many participants highlighted the strong educational role of having such a pilot plant in a school building, applauding the Municipality of Ferla and SVI.MED for selecting the site.
The creation of the green wall that reuses greywater in a school building makes the children protagonists of the process for the sustainable development of our communities.
The event ended with SVI.MED rolling out the following activities in Sicily, i.e., second and third water tables, technical and political workshops, technical visits, where the NAWAMED partners will share data on the monitoring of the pilot and continue discussing how to transfer this good practice to other areas.
The NAWAMED project sowed a seed; let’s see how it will grow and foster water reuse.