European Small Islands Federation

Water Saving Project


The first stage of the 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:

WASAC logo 2B

The Water Saving project is a study on how eight small, dry European islands save fresh water. To become more sustainable, they have developed technologies and they are addressing people’s attitudes and behavior regarding water.


The project is headed by The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm and uses its so-called ”Challenge” methodology meaning there aren’t lectures, but the highly competent islands Mayors and Technical Directors meet in frank discussions. You might describe it as well prepared, throughly reserached round table talks.

The study is led by Christian Pleijel at KTH with the support of professor Anders Nordström from Stockholm University, professor Louis Brigand from the University of Brest, Máirtín O’Mealoid from Cape Clear Island, Ireland, CRES Institute ( in Greece, internship Maxime Bredin from l’Université de Brest, professor Roland Barthel from the University of Gothenburg and professor Andy Bäcker from the IE University of Bilbao.

A starting point is the study just being made on the Swedish Koster islands, a society much aware of its water choosing small-scale, local, efficient water and sewage system solutions. The island was mapped on three levels: (1) the water of the island = the hydrogeological conditions, (2) the water of the islanders = the human need for and use of freshwater and consequent outlet, and (3) the water and sewage infrastructure to match the conditions and the needs. See


ESIN has an important role to play as a dissemination partner. Members interested in water saving measures are welcome to attend when the study is presented to the European Parliament in late November with Tonino Picula as host. Mr Picula is the Chairman of the European Parliament Intergroup for Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas.





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[…] news for the islanders and for the Water Saving Project in which Oileán Chléire is one of eight participating […]

  Can we save 25% of the water we use? | ESIN wrote @

[…] first stage of the Water Saving study is now complete: total water consumption and water supply on the eight islands Tilos and Ithaca […]

  WATER SAVING CHALLENGE PROJECT | Greening The Islands wrote @

[…] and awareness efforts and results: The project results are disseminated through the ESIN network In November, a website will be launched, a hands-on guide on water saving for municipalities, […]

[…] water to participate in a workshop about water shortage on small European islands arranged by the Water Saving Challenge Project. Once again the same ingredients; a wicked problem, a diverse group of knowledgeable actors and the […]

[…] Christian Pleijel is Program Director at KTH Executive School. He works with leadership and development on island communities in Europe, including the challenge of water: […]

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