Les partenaires de MEDISS se réunissent en Jordanie pour observer directement la station d'épuration d'Al Rishah et rencontrer des agriculteurs
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Since the pandemic complicated normal activities, it is finally possible for the MEDISS partners to start with face-to-face meetings. From 8 to 10 November 2021 took place an international study visit in Jordan which gathers together all the representants of the Aqaba Water Company (Jordan), the Palestinian Wastewater Engineers Group (Palestine), the Governorate of Jericho & Al-Aghwar (GoJ), the Médenine Arid Regions institute (Tunisia), the Sardinian water authority (Italy), the Centre For North-South Economic Research (Italy), Arborea Producers' Cooperative (Italy).
In addition to the project partners, Timesis experts took part in the event. Their participation in the event is of particular importance, as they are responsible for sampling soils and water both in Palestine and Jordan and verify their quality.
The event has been extremely significant given that the launch of the MEDISS project has been followed right away from the pandemic outbreak, which imposed several restrictions and challenges. As a result, all the partners have been finding alternative ways to take the work in their respective pilot sites forward, keep each other updated on progress achieved, and organise virtual meetings and field and study visits.
Thanks to this three days event, it has been finally possible for the partners to meet face-to-face and see directly the progress made in Jordan, sharing advice, data from the other pilot areas, information, challenges for the future.
The event has been also an opportunity to collect new water and soil samples to test their salinisation level in order to identify the right mix of clean and treated water.
The three days meeting was characterized by a rich agenda of events, aimed at achieving 5 objectives:
- illustrate the progress of the all MEDISS pilot plants to the partners
- visit the Al Rishah pilot plant
- meet farmers to exchange good practices and to conduct an awareness program session
- collect soil and water samples to test the level of salinisation
- meet the Aqaba Water Company’s department.
MEDISS update on the water treatment plants progress
To achieve the objectives mentioned above, the first day was dedicated to discuss directly the achievement reached and the challenges faced in each pilot area.
Each country illustrated the programme and updated on the headways taken in each wastewater pilot sites:
- In Sardinia (Italy) MEDISS develops a prototype for ammonia stripping from waste sludges and will produce fertilizers from it. The Italian partners – Sardinian Water Board, Ente Acque della Sardegna– update on the recent arrival of a new prototype plant from the Netherlands
- In Gabès (Tunisia) MEDISS upgrades the existing pilot plant for tertiary treatment through infiltration percolation. During the meeting, the Tunisian partner – the Institute of Arid Regions of Médenine–illustrate the tests’ results and update on the innovative filter bed of clay.
- In the Jordan Valley (Palestine) the lead partner – Palestinian Wastewater Engineering Group and the Governorate of Jericho– update the event members on the collection of lost surface water in Wadi Quilt and the treatment of wastewater from Jericho city.
- In the Governorate of Aqaba (Jordan), MEDISS develops a innovative approach for the desalination plant of brackish groundwater. Aqaba Water Company reveals progress made in the pilot plant, before accompanying partners to physically visit it.
At the end of the presentations about the plants updates, the Timesis experts illustrate the analyses on the salinity of water and soils made in these years of the project, both in Jordan and in Palestine. The results of these analyses will be compared with the sample data collected during the Aqaba study visit.
MEDISS partners witness firsthand the wastewater plant in Al Rishah and meet the farmers
The second day has been characterized by several appointments:
- Study visit in Al Rishah desalination plant in Wadi Araba (Aqaba Governorate)
- Visit some local farms and deliver an awareness program session with farmers
- Collect samples of water and soils from different fields
- Visit Aqaba Water Company
1. Study visit in Al Rishah desalination plant in Wadi Araba (Aqaba Governorate)
The second day of the project meeting started with the study visit in Al Rishah desalination plant in Wadi Araba (Aqaba Governorate) which aims to improve access to water resources for irrigation and domestic use, mitigating water scarcity and the water quality deterioration problem in the area. Through non-traditional methods, the plant reduces salt levels in water and soil, allowing an increase of agricultural production.
The visit allowed MEDISS partners to witness first hand the Jordanian wastewater treatment plant. Experts of the other MEDISS pilot plants (located in Italy, Tunisia and Palestine) evaluate its working system, the progress made and the innovative components provided during this months (the filters made of sand, the long-lasting reverse osmosis membranes that provide desalinated brackish water) to learn about the results obtained in the Al Rishah plant.
2. Visit some local farms and deliver an awareness program session with farmers
After the visit of the plant, MEDISS partners had been the opportunity to visit some farms, of tomato and grape growers, and meet the farmers. Jordanian farmers showed their agriculture techniques in order to compare them with the representative of Arborea Producers’ Cooperative.
An other fundamental activity carried out during the second day is one session of the Awareness Programme with the local farmers, MEDISS partners and Aqaba Water Company members. In fact, one the objective of the programme is supporting community-led local development strategies by operating with local authorities and creating a synergetic action involving and empowering all the actors present in the territory.
This programme is developed to maximise the efficiency of the project, it aims also at collecting information on all types of barriers or resistance to the use of unconventional water resources, and raising awareness of the correct use and exploitation of water resources.
3. Collect samples of water and soils from different fields
Furthermore, during the morning visit, Timesis experts sampled soils and water in order to analyse the quality of them, evaluate the level of salinization and compare the results with previous analysis. Soil samples were collected in different areas and from different types of soil: sand, terrain and tomato fields; instead water sample was collected from a tomato farm’s reservoir.
The relation between water and soils health is direct. Waters affect soils quality in several ways, including irrigation with groundwaters, sea-level rise, and seawater intrusion. Soils salinization is mainly related to water management and climate change and is a menace for a large part of agriculture systems. Between 20 and 50 % of agricultural lands in all continents are too salty and, over 1.5 billion people are starting to experience a reduction in soils productivity due to soil degradation. Water and soils management practices are the most effective solution to soil salinization. In particular, soils are fragile resources menaced by overexploitation and changing climate conditions.
MEDISS project supports relevant interventions aiming at reducing the impacts of soils salinization and water quality.
4. Visit to Aqaba Water Company
After visiting the Al Rishah pilot plant, MEDISS partners were hosted by Aqaba Water Company for an extraordinarily constructive meeting in one of the company’s departments, where there is a plant equipped with innovative treatments and photovoltaic panel for energy supply. During the meeting, the Company exposed case studies about the reuse of treated wastewater irrigation (such as using it in street decoration plants and in gardens) to facilitate the exchange of practices and the experience about the multiple use of the wastewater.
MEDISS partners planned the future project activities
The final day of the project meeting was dedicated to the plannings for the last year of the MEDISS project. All the MEDISS partners, clustered together in Jordan, had a vis-à-vis section to share the next steps to be taken in each wastewater pilot plant.