The Circular Water Challenge

Today, in the small corner of the world called the Baltic Sea, the Water Saving project #2 named ”Circular Water Challenge” was granted funds from the Region of Stockholm. The project is now ready to fly.

It will examine the water situation on six quite different islands in the Baltic Sea, and propose at least one object on each island where water could be re-used, “circulated”. To this end, there are six Master students who will spend a total of 100 weeks on field studies for the project.

Hopefully, many islands will be able to use the knowledge gathered in close cooperation between islanders, businessmen, officials, technicians, politicians, students and professors.

A Meta-question will also be explored: traditional landscape analysis describes a landscape in terms of natural, cultural/social and perceptual & aesthetic*. But where is the technology needed to survive on an island? Islanders need ferries, ports, roads, electric power and transmission, telephone wires and wireless networks, internet, wells, water mains and treatment plants, criss-crossing the landscape, making life possible for islanders? It seems traditional landscape descriptions miss an essential part of modern life: the infrastructure.

This is especially problematic on small islands, having quite fragile infrastructure which needs to be described, developed and managed in a sustainable way with all possible respect to natural and cultural aspects. 

The new Circular Water Challenge will further explore the model describing an island which was elaborated in the first Water Challenge project, where the island-object is sliced into three layers: the physical landscape, the social landscape, and the technical landscape. This permits us to create a simple yet complex picture of the island with the water of the island, the water of the islanders, and the water of the community as three integrated systems. It makes it easier to understand how we can save water – and reuse water.

Christian Pleijel is the Director of Leadership and Change at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology Executive School in Stockholm. Christian is a long-term supporter of Europe’s Islands and ESIN, working to increase recognition, sustainability and rights of our Islands.

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