The Aqua Vita programme is a priority for MedINA as it is one of the two programmatic pillars of MedINA’s current strategy. Recognising the importance of water for resilient communities and ecosystems, the programmepromotes the protection of rivers and the sustainable management of water resources by re-introducing traditional practices.
Through its individual projects, Aqua Vita aims to enhance scientific knowledge, build evidence-based arguments and thus actively participate in the formulation of proposals on policy issues at a national and European level, raise awareness to people of all ages, implement specific concrete conservation solutions.
The projects currently under implementation focus on the protection of free-flowing rivers, with an emphasis on the emblematic Aoos river and on sustainable water management through the reintroduction of the traditional practice of building stone weirs on ephemeral island streams.
The following key projects are being implemented under the Aqua Vita programme umbrella:
The “Saving the last free flowing wild river – Vjosa/Aoos” project was launched in 2018. The project’s goal is the institutional protection of the river basin and averting the construction of hydropower plants that would threaten river connectivity. The first major step towards the river’s protection was taken in March 2023 with its declaration as Europe’s first Wild River National Park on the Albanian side of the border. MedINA will continue its intensive efforts to safeguard and preserve river’s unique ecosystem, as well as the rich natural and cultural heritage of the region.
The “Traditional Stone Weirs in ephemeral insular streams” is MedINA’s proposition for a low-impact, no regret practice rooted in local tradition that can contribute to tackling water scarcity. This traditional technique, which can contribute to water sufficiency and enhance biodiversity, has already been successfully applied in Kythera and Paros, with the construction of 58 stone weirs in two ephemeral streams. Reducing water waste in local communities motivates people to appreciate the value of water and improves its wise use and management. Soon the project will be extended to other Aegean islands and stone weirs will re-introduced in more insular ephemeral streams.
Water is vital for people, ecosystems, biodiversity and the economy. When water resources are threatened, not only ecosystems but our very existence is threatened. Protecting water is crucial for present and future generations, for every living being on the planet!
By preserving water, we preserve life itself!