NAWAMED presents water management pilots implemented in Jordan

The Green Wall for greywater treatment at the University of Jordan is one of the pilot sites of the NAWAMED project in Jordan. The type of green wall implemented in the University of Jordan pilot (Al-Zahra’a Dormitory), a so-called Nature-Based Solution (NbS), is the Green Facade, which is basically a vertical flow constructed wetland (CW) hosted in trenches along the building walls and planted with ornamental and climbing plants. The water percolates vertically through the treating medium in the trenches and then is collected in a tank for subsequent reuse (e.g., drip irrigation and toilet flushing).

The pilot installation collects the greywater to treat from the showers and the washbasins of the student’s building (Al-Zahra’ a Dormitory) which regularly hosts around 300 students for 10 months per year.

The installed Nature-Based Solution (NbS) at the Al-Zahra’a Dormitory is divided into three main areas, providing a green wall area of about 288 m2 (72 m length * 4 m high), and able to treat and recover greywater flow rate equal to about 4.8 m3/d.

The bioretention systems for rainwater and greywater treatment at Zain Park, located in the city of Jerash, is the second pilot site for the NAWAMED project in Jordan. The park includes a two-storey building with an area of 600 square meters, which contains training halls, a carpentry workshop, and internal and external sanitary units used by staff, trainees, and visitors. It also foresees courtyards, paths, trees, green areas, a collection tank for rainwater, and irrigation networks for crops.

The pilot installation includes two planted ponds which filters the greywater from the washbasins and the rainwater from the roof. The treated water is transported through pipes to be collected inside the existing collection tank, which is linked with the irrigation networks of the park, providing water for the dry summer season.

Increased water demand coupled with rapid urbanization and climate change are some of the main driving forces of water crisis. This stresses the need for responsible water management, innovation, and a shift in awareness at both the private and public levels. Therefore, greywater can be a cost-effective alternative source of water and can potentially help to overcome the water scarcity problem in Jordan.

NbS can be implemented as a more practical and attractive technology for greywater treatment and reuse and can improve the aesthetic appearance in urban settlements (such as gardens of urban households, public parks and roadsides) also in warm climatic conditions of arid /semi-arid regions. Moreover, green facades create a link between efficiency, a green infrastructure, and a psychological and aesthetic effect. Such systems can radically reduce water consumption taking a real step toward sustainability. 

Providing financial incentives can encourage the adoption of non-conventional water (NCW) reuse solutions but may require budget allocation and coordination with relevant authorities to effectively implement and manage such incentives.

Furthermore, awareness and education campaigns can play a role in raising awareness and promoting the understanding of greywater reuse and can be easily implemented through targeted campaigns, public events, and educational materials.

In Jordan, a national water strategy (2023-2040) has been developed aiming to increase the use of treated wastewater in agriculture, industry and urban areas.

Nature-based solutions are thus key elements in our urban environments for addressing climate change, supporting biodiversity and ecosystem services, promoting our health and well-being, and creating vibrant, sustainable cities.

Finally, through the planning and development of cities and urban areas, NbS are a crucial tool for promoting biodiversity and ecosystems and their importance for cities as well as the surrounding landscape. 

Watch the video where Prof. Ahmed Al-Salaymeh – project coordinator at the University of Jordan- talks about the project’s installations at this link.

You can also see the impressions of some of the students who attended the training at the University of Jordan here

Wall2Water: discover NAWAMED innovative solution with multiple functionalities and impacts applied in a Tunisian urban environment for grey water recovery

Exciting news has emerged from Tunisia as the first Living Green Wall (LGW) pilot has been successfully realized as part of the NAWAMED project. 

The Living Green Wall “Wall2Water” is a pioneering nature-based solution (NbS) that addresses the efficient treatment of greywater, specifically from the student residence’s showers.

The successful implementation of this pilot project by experts from the Centre for Water Research and Technologies CERTE and IRIDRA, both project partners, represents a significant step forward in sustainable water management practices in Tunisia and the broader Mediterranean region. By implementing Living Green Wall, the aim is to reduce the pressure on conventional water sources and promote water reuse, which is particularly crucial in areas with water scarcity. It also showcases the potential of NbS in addressing water challenges at the urban level. The positive outcomes and lessons learned from the Living Green Wall implementation in Tunisia will enable multiplication and adaptation to several contexts. 

The Living Green Wall is designed as a “reactor” in which the substrate is multi-layered to promote different processes as adsorption and filtration, and the plants are selected to promote nutrient/pollution uptake/degradation thanks to bacteriological development at root level. The combination of water, plant and substrate ensures grey water treatment. The treated water undergoes UV disinfection and is injected into the flush toilets of the “Sustainable Water Management House- SWM House”, a CERTE pilot station where the Living Green Wall is implemented.

The green wall enables the safety treatment and recycling of grey water, which accounts for up to 70% of domestic water consumption. It also creates an ecosystem in an urban environment, bringing biodiversity and inducing a local reduction in temperature. The green space created absorbs CO2 and helps reduce air pollution, as well as lowering the temperature inside the SWM-House. A rainwater collection system has also been installed on the site to ensure sustainable and local water management. Around the wall, a relaxing environment is created for students.

This solution is ideally adapted to urban environments, where space is limited and walls predominate over green spaces. It fits in with a local zero-discharge water management approach, but also with the concept of a sustainable, green city and as adaptation to the effects of climate change. 

The Living Green Wall developed is applicable not only to houses, but also to stadiums, hammams, hotels or any building with locally high grey water production.

Overall, the realization of the first Living Green Wall in Tunisia through the NAWAMED project is a significant milestone in advancing NbS for domestic water reuse at urban level and promoting sustainable water management practices in the Med region.

Watch the videos where experts from CERTE and IRIDRA explain how the Wall2Water works and where Latifa Bousselmi gives a wider insight into the pilot and the project in general at this link.

NAWAMED implements two constructed wetlands in Bekaa, Lebanon for sustainable treatment of greywater

In the heart of Bekaa Lebanon, a groundbreaking environmental project known as the NAWAMED – Constructed Wetlands has taken root. Developed in collaboration with the American University of Beirut (AUB), this project shows the innovative approach of using constructed wetlands for greywater treatment. With the installation complete, the Constructed Wetlands (CW) are now fully operational, efficiently treating greywater and demonstrating their capacity to provide a sustainable and eco-friendly solution for greywater treatment. 

Constructed Wetlands are nature-inspired greywater treatment systems that mimic the processes of natural wetlands. By harnessing the power of wetland vegetation and microorganisms, these systems effectively purify greywater while minimizing negative environmental impacts. The two Constructed Wetlands serve as exemplary models for this approach, presenting an eco-friendly alternative to conventional treatment methods. 

The primary objective of the Constructed Wetlands is to provide a cost-effective and sustainable solution for greywater treatment in Advancing Research Enabling Communities Center (AREC), addressing the pressing issue of water scarcity. The design and implementation process involved careful planning and expertise. The project includes two constructed wetlands (CW) for the treatment and reuse of greywater produced by three buildings at the AREC Campus in the Bekaa Valley. The 1st constructed wetland (CW-A) treats greywater collected from the women’s dormitory and administration building, while the second constructed wetland (CW-B) treats greywater collected from the boys’ dormitory. The 1st step of the construction process was the separation of the greywater from the blackwater in each of the three buildings. The greywater is primarily collected and treated in a degreaser, then circulated in a horizontal subsurface-flow constructed wetland (HFCW) as the secondary treatment. The HFCW is fed by a small submerged pumping station, and the treated greywater is collected in a tank to be reused for irrigation of the nearby planted area.

Looking ahead, the Constructed Wetlands project envisions expansion and continuous monitoring of the wetland system’s performance. The data collected from the project will contribute to ongoing research on sustainable water management strategies. Collaboration with other organizations and communities is also being explored, with the goal of establishing similar wetland projects in other regions of Lebanon.

In conclusion, as AREC faces the challenges of water scarcity, the Constructed Wetlands offer a glimmer of hope. Through their innovative use in greywater treatment, this project showcases the power of nature-inspired solutions. By prioritizing sustainability and community engagement, the Constructed Wetlands serve as a model for future environmental initiatives in Lebanon and beyond.

NAWAMED introduces cutting-edge solutions for greywater treatment in Lebanon

The American University of Beirut (AUB) is at the forefront of sustainable water management, implementing groundbreaking solutions for greywater treatment. 

AUB has taken a remarkable step towards sustainable water management with the implementation of a Living Wall (LW) and Green Façade (GF) for greywater treatment on its campus. This pioneering initiative is an integral part of the NAWAMED project, which seeks to introduce cutting-edge solutions for greywater treatment.

The project features two different types of green walls (GW) designed to treat and reuse greywater from the girls’ dormitory building, Jewett Hall, at the AUB campus in Beirut. The first type is the Living Wall (LW), a vegetated vertical system anchored to building facades integrating greywater treatment and providing additional benefits such as greening, improved aesthetics, and energy savings. The LWs, covering a total of 200 square meters, were implemented on the East and West facades of Jewett Hall. The second type is the Green Facades (GF), which consist of trenches along the walls planted with climbing vegetation. The technique used for the treatment of the greywater in the GFs derives from the vertical submerged subsurface flow constructed wetland technology .Treated greywater is collected and reused for flushing in the dormitory.

As part of the NAWAMED project, ongoing monitoring and research will assess the performance and efficiency of these green solutions in treating greywater. The data collected from these initiatives will contribute valuable insights to advance sustainable water management practices. AUB’s Living Wall and Green Facade serve as shining examples of how innovation and collaboration, inspired by nature, can revolutionize greywater treatment, paving the way for a greener and more sustainable future.

AUB is also taking bold steps in greywater treatment with the introduction of a portable wetland as part of the NAWAMED project. This pioneering iniative holds the potential to address greywater treatment challenges in refugee camps and similar settings.

Designed by IRIDRA and implemented by AUB, the portable wetland is a self-contained and highly adaptable unit for greywater treatment. By utilizing a combination of vegetation, soil, and specific filtration layers, the wetland effectively removes contaminants and purifies greywater on-site. The key advantage of the portable wetland is its mobility, making it easy to transport and install in various locations, including refugee camps. This portability provides a practical solution to overcome infrastructure limitations typically found in such settings, where access to advanced wastewater treatment infrastructure may be limited.

Beyond its functionality, the portable wetland contributes to the creation of a healthier and more sustainable environment. The inclusion of vegetation not only aids in greywater treatment but also helps restore biodiversity and enhances the overall quality of life in refugee camps.

Ongoing research and monitoring conducted by AUB, as part of the NAWAMED project, will shed light on the performance and efficiency of the portable wetland in greywater treatment. The knowledge gained from this research will contribute to the development of improved sustainable water management practices, benefiting not only AUB but also other organizations.

In unison, these initiatives showcase AUB’s commitment to providing cleaner water solutions, even in challenging circumstances, and the university’s dedication to advancing the field of sustainable water management.

Watch the video at this link where Prof. Yaser Abunnasr, Nawamed project coordinator for AUB, talks about the systems installed. 

NAWAMED: promozione di soluzioni sostenibili per la gestione e la pianificazione delle acque urbane in Sicilia

Come fase finale del progetto NAWAMED, il Workshop di formazione tecnica e politica sulla gestione delle acque non convenzionali (NCW) si è tenuto a Siracusa e Ferla (Sicilia) per un totale di 3 giorni, dal 12 al 14 aprile 2023. SVI.MED – Centro Euromediterraneo per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile, in sinergia con Iridra, partner del progetto, e con il supporto dei Comuni di Siracusa e Ferla, oltre che della Rete delle Professioni Tecniche di Siracusa, hanno riunito con successo diversi profili professionali, accademici, decision maker e studenti per migliorare le competenze tecniche, promuovere un dibattito comune sulle innovazioni e le politiche idriche e rafforzare una rete di professionisti del settore.
Durante i tre giorni, più di 70 partecipanti hanno avuto l’opportunità di partecipare alla formazione e alla visita tecnica con il coordinamento, tra gli altri, di Giulio Conte e Anacleto Rizzo (Iridra) e Francesco Giunta (Rete delle Professioni Tecniche di Siracusa).

I primi due giorni, si sono incentrati su come implementare soluzioni ecosostenibili per la gestione delle acque urbane e sono stati pensati per professionisti che si occupano di edilizia e urbanistica, ma anche ad agronomi e geologi. Il secondo giorno è stata programmata una visita tecnica alla parete verde (Wall2Water) installata presso l’Istituto Comprensivo Valle dell’Anapo di Ferla.  Tra i temi discussi, la necessità di fornire maggiori indicazioni sulla gestione e il recupero delle acque piovane, sul drenaggio urbano sostenibile e sulla riduzione e ottimizzazione dei consumi. In questo contesto, è stata sottolineata l’importanza di adottare soluzioni innovative per la gestione dell’acqua a basso costo per i nuovi edifici e adattarle invece alle strutture esistenti. Di conseguenza, questo approccio implica la necessità di concentrarsi non solo sull’offerta, ma anche sulla domanda (che in effetti è stato l’approccio principale della conformità delle politiche europee negli ultimi anni). C’è stato anche tempo per discutere alcuni casi studio di interventi, come la Water Plaza (Rotterdam, Paesi Bassi) e il Nuovo Centro Ricerche Kerakoll (Sassuolo, Italia). Infine, la prima sessione ha incluso anche esercizi pratici su come implementare queste soluzioni nell’edificio in cui si è svolto l’evento. È fondamentale evidenziare l’accordo del gruppo sull’importanza di avere un approccio multidisciplinare, il quale richiede la formazione di un team con diverse competenze tecniche, dai geologi agli urbanisti e agli ingegneri, per l’implementazione delle soluzioni indicate.

La visita tecnica è stata seguita con interesse e sono state poste molte domande, soprattutto sulla fattibilità economica dell’impianto pilota e sul suo funzionamento. Con gli studenti dell’Istituto Luigi Einaudi di Siracusa si è tenuto un dibattito congiunto nell’auditorium comunale su alcune delle principali strategie per promuovere il trattamento decentrato delle acque reflue e il riutilizzo delle acque trattate in contesti urbani, che ha sollevato aspetti rilevanti come la sostenibilità a medio e lungo termine.

“L’esperienza di oggi al Green Wall è stata fantastica! Innanzitutto ho scoperto molte cose, tra cui gli impianti di zone umide costruite usate per trattare le acque grigie nel Green Wall, ma anche il modo in cui il Green Wall viene costruito e il processo mi ha affascinato molto. È stato anche bello vederlo per la prima volta e scoprire come funziona il sistema di riciclo dell’acqua”, ha commentato uno studente. 

Infine, il terzo e ultimo giorno è stato dedicato alla presentazione del documento prodotto e convalidato durante il 4° Water Table a istituzioni professionali, comuni e aziende idriche, che sono state anche invitate a partecipare al dibattito che ne è seguito.  Tra i principali temi discussi c’è stata la necessità di garantire una maggiore trasparenza nel processo decisionale – che in ultima analisi richiede l’inclusione di una discussione pubblica e di un dibattito politico tra cittadini e politici, garantendo una pianificazione partecipata come passo fondamentale – o anche la necessità di concentrarsi su 4 elementi molto importanti della cultura e della gestione dell’acqua: tariffe, regolamenti, formazione e promozione della cultura dell’acqua. Inoltre, si è discusso della necessità di adottare 3 strategie (quando possibile) per evitare l’utilizzo di acqua potabile: riutilizzo, infiltrazione e laminazione. Il consenso generale emerso in questo contesto riguarda la necessità di adottare nuovi modi di progettazione degli edifici e delle città per far fronte alle sfide climatiche future, e di incoraggiare l’incorporazione di tali soluzioni nei nuovi edifici.

Il riscontro dei partecipanti è stato molto positivo, in quanto hanno sottolineato che argomenti come il riutilizzo dell’acqua e le risorse idriche non-convenzionali (NCWR) non sono molto conosciuti e che la formazione è stata ben strutturata, integrando presentazioni orali, dibattiti e gruppi di lavoro. La collaborazione avviata con il CERSU, il Centro Regionale di Studi Urbani della Sicilia per il quarto Water Table, è l’inizio di un processo che continuerà anche dopo la fine del progetto. Anche se il progetto NAWAMED è prossimo alla fine, siamo certi che i semi piantati continueranno a crescere con nuovi progetti e iniziative nel campo della gestione efficiente dell’acqua.