Observatorio de Agua / Nov 5th 2018 - working papers

OAX Meeting held on Monday November 5th

Working papers for the meeting


More taps - less plastic, Wet Wipes and Mediterranean Gardens.

Rough English Translation:

More taps less Plastic

The main objective of the project is to make the population aware of the benefits of the consumption of tap water, mainly due to the quality of a service that controls all its parameters in the processes of uptake, desalination and distribution, but also because it is a model of an ecological supply that does not need to consume fossil fuels or create containers that increase cross-contamination with urban solid waste. Historically, water has been an asset of common interest managed by local corporations, a territorial element strongly related to the society to which it is supplied by the direct link between the consumer and the quality and quantity of water available. However, the perception of a traditional common good has been blurred by several aspects, among which are technological advances that have increased the possibilities of reaching more distant water reserves through new engineering techniques ensuring greater availability of water, but the perception has also been diffused by the decreasing presence of public sources of drinking water in the streets, the generalization of supply in almost all housing, apart from vandalism, maintenance costs, leaks, etc.

Two aspects therefore focus on the object of our project.

By a part, carry out an awareness campaign among the population about the qualities of tap water improving its quality image, preventing it from being perceived as a
banal element for its abundance, usual low cost for most of the population and by the own ignorance of the outstanding quality of the waters.

We want society to perceive tap water as an element of remarkable value. But this fact cannot be developed in a unidirectional way where sends a message and society receives it, but we seek reciprocity to involve the population in the initiative. For this, the following activities have been carried out:
1. Adhesion to the ProGrifo manifesto promoted by the Spanish Association of Public Operators of Supply and Sanitation (AEOPAS). (Already
2. Design of the image of the campaign and adaptation to the different elements of the same (in process).
3. Production of glass bottles with the image of the campaign.

The idea is to get less bottled water consumed and increase consumption of tap water, that is why a glass bottle with the image of the campaign that will be distributed to the population to promote the goal.

The following steps will be:
1. Presentation of the campaign in the OAX
2. Sessions of bottle distribution among the population. In the OAX session we will discuss how to distribute the bottles among the citizens of Xàbia.
3. Awareness campaign in schools. Work sessions will be scheduled in schools and institutes. Schoolchildren can be decisive in the success of the campaign. Therefore, it is proposed that we conduct a design competition for metal bottles that would be distributed in future work sessions with them.

Wet Wipes

Wipes were born as a complement to toilet paper. However, their success was such that in many cases they are advertised and used not as a complement, but as the definitive product, the star product. And so much so that they have opened new applications: disinfectants, make-up remover, tanning, cleaning glasses, bathroom, kitchen, metal surfaces, etc.

In this regard, the wipes manufacturing companies decided to facilitate its introduction into the daily hygienic habits of all households, and given that they were concerned with biodegradable products, promoted disposal through of the toilet, without taking into account two fundamental issues:

• The biodegradability of the product far exceeded the maximum period that the wipe would be in the sanitation network and sewerage works. About 24 hours can pass between opening the house tap until the water leaves the purifier in to the corresponding drain (depending on the size of the sewer network and the hydraulic retention time of the receiving WWTP), however, a Wipe may need about 30 days for its biodegradation, without counting those other components of a non-biodegradable nature, such as polyester or polypropylene, which will remain unchanged.
• The nature of its components means that the wipe does not disintegrate during the agitation to which it is subjected in the sanitation network and gets hooked and entangled with other wipes or items and substances that it meets on its way to the WWTP causing jams and problems that we all know. There is a great affinity between wipes and fats and even dental floss, which can lead to those lumps known as Fatbergs (like Icebergs), big balls of grease and wipes that seal collectors, and whose record holder is the one found in the London sanitation network weighing about 10 tons.

All this is aggravated by the malpractice of users of the wipes, who convinced by the misleading icons of the packaging labelling, or simply for convenience,has resulted in these being eliminated directly through the toilet, resulting in the monster of the sewers. In Xàbia, we suffer, as in many other cities, this problem that has been made visible several times on the beaches of Montañar 1. Large spaces of tourist interest are infested by kilos and kilos of this product which the sea returns to us as a rejection of an element that it does not recognize as its own.

In addition AMJASA has about thirty pumps and one pump per month is stopped by wipes. These two problems generate a strong economic impact that oblige measures to to be taken to reduce occurrences until the problem can be minimised. In this regard, the main objective of the OAX session is to discuss what actions can be carried out to raise society's awareness when it assumes discarding wipes down the toilet is OK.

AMJASA, has already carried out several awareness-raising activities : posters for public buildings and communities of owners, adherence to actions carried out by associations of the sector such as AEOPAS and AEAS, etc. However, the facts show us that we must continue working.

Mediterranean Gardens:
In recent years there have been episodes of drought that can lead to complicated situations in terms of drinking water supply. Thanks to the desalination plant of Xàbia we managed to sustain the consumption needs. However, we must not forget that in summer the population multiplies and already it consumes daily, more water than resources are capable of supplying.

Drought affects many areas, but the most damaged is probably vegetation. In this regard, the urban model of Xàbia, with widely dispersed, single-family homes has a significant number of private gardens. The less rain fall, the greater the need for gardens to consume water, which could result in problems in water resources.

This observatory and AMJASA, have already put forward some proposals, working on several approaches so that irrigation does not become a complication in times of water shortage. Firstly: a project to reuse of purified water, which is being studied and drafted. Secondly: awareness-raising actions. In this context a session and presentation on sustainable Mediterranean gardening awareness will be held. This "new" paradigm consists of the use of native species that require a smaller amount of water. We say "new" because it is not usual approach in recent times, although traditionally it has been the one that was used by previous generations.

In this context, the day will present the examples of the garden of l'Albarda, in Pedreguer, from the Fundem Foundation and the success stories of the local company Jardín

In the session of the Observatori, the main aspects of the session will be discussed, date and time, location and will open a pund of proposals to help improve its contents.

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