European Small Islands Federation

Archive for Water

Water saving objectives

Group photo

Mayors and water managers from eight islands met on Croatian island Vis to decide if it is possible for islands to save water. The islands – Tilos and Ithaca in Greece, Vis and Lastovo in Croatia, Sein and Houat in France, Cape Clear and Inis Oírr – all have a scarcity of drinking water, mainly due to the development of tourism.

Based on recent, detailed field studies of the water situation on each of the islands made by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and with live support from professors Anders Nordstrom and Sara Borgstrom, the meeting discussed best and worst practices in water saving. Moving further into action planning, they found that clever combinations of changes in human behaviour, simple household and large-scale technologies, smart pricing and governance can lead to savings from 6 to 50% within two years, as reported on Croatian national news

This would mean 18 billions of litres saved a year. If this is desalinated water, it is also a huge saving on energy and money.

With strong support from Tonino Picula, the project team is going to document their findings and suggestions to be presented before the Europan Parliament on November 22. They also want to create a ”Islands as Water Saving Labs” two-year project to measure their ongoing accomplishments and to share their knowledge and experiences within the group, to ESIN islands and to all who want to learn how islands manage to make small water footprints.


Can we save 25% of the water we use?


The first stage of the Water Saving study is now complete: total water consumption and water supply on the eight islands Tilos and Ithaca (Greece), Vis and Lastovo (Croatia), Sein and Houat (France), Cape Clear and Inis Oírr (Ireland) have been mapped, in detail. Now Mayors and Water Officers take next step, gathering for a challenge meeting on island Vis, September 22-24.

The challenge is: can we save 25% of the water we use? Is it possible to achieve such savings through a balanced blend of actions including information, household technologies, industrial technologies, governance and pricing?

If so, these islands will save 180 million liters of fresh water. If one hundred islands join the challenge, 18 billion liters of water will be saved. If we can extend this knowledge to all of Europe’s 2,400 islands and coastal communities, the saving on one of nature’s most precious assets is almost unimaginable.

The project’s sponsor, EU Parliamentary, former Foreign Minister of Croatia, Tonino Picula, is hopeful:

The field reports from the eight islands can be found here