Water ecological islands – Water House (Water Points)
SMAT – the Società Metropolitana Acque Torino (SMAT) www.smatorino.it
Turin Municipality/Comune di Torino
Mirella Iacono Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Aldo Blandino E-mail: email@example.com
Adress: SMAT: Corso XI Febbraio, 14, 10152 Torino . Italia
Phone: +39 011 4645.111
Adress Turin Municipality
Piazza Palazzo di Città, 110122, Torino
WHERE: Italy, City area of Turin
WHEN: Ongoing (2012-2020)
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Prevention: Replacement– Reduction
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Education/information/awareness raising
WASTE STREAMS: Plastics
About: The installation of Water Houses and Water Points in Turin has the objective of encouraging the development and diffusion of the use of water coming from the public network with a view to promoting water saving. Further environmental results are related to the lower number of plastic bottles used by citizens who normally use bottled drinking water, to the environmental costs generated by the transport of bottled water from the place of production to the distribution point, as well as to the reduction of CO2 emissions. 168 Water Points were installed in the Metropolitan area of Turin.
SMAT – the Società Metropolitana Acque Torino (SMAT), the organization that implements the project.
is a national leader in service management integrated water system where it operates through the design, construction and management of sources diversified water supply, technologically advanced water treatment plants, urban waste water purification and reuse systems.
The installation of Water Houses and Water Points are one of the many action envisaged by TAPE (Turin Action Plan for Energy), plan approved by the City Council in 2010 and that represents the city’s commitment to reduce its CO2 emissions.
Material resources: The „Punto Acqua” water distribution point – a two-metre tall hexagonal kiosk equipped with three taps: one for still water, one for chilled still water and one for chilled sparkling water.
Cleanliness and hygiene of the water distributed by „Punto Acqua” is guaranteed by an UV sterilizer installed at the taps. The average deliverable chilled water is 180 litres per hour. Units from 0.2 litres to 1.5 litres are obtainable. Still water – at room temperature or chilled – is free. 1.5 litres of sparkling, refrigerated water costs 5 cents. Timetable operation of the „Punto Acqua” water distribution point is programmable.
Human resources: SMAT technical staff
• Reduced CO2 emissions – 668 ton/year (date 2015)
• 168 Water Points installed in the Metro-politan area of Turin • 43 milions of water supplied in 2017
• Savings of almost 29 milions of plastic bottles (one and half litres type).
Urban metabolism relevance
This initiative of the municipal administration is part of the path taken by Italy in the framework of the „National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy” launched in 2015 and of the European policies to reduce the environmental impact of human activities, which have evolved from the beginning European cities:
- The Covenant of Mayors to which the City of Turin joined in 2009, publishing its Action Plan for Sustainable Energy (Turin Action Plan for Energy-TAPE), in 2010, for the reduction of CO2 emissions by 30% by 2020;
- joining „Mayors Adapt” – the Covenant of Mayors Initiative on Climate Change Adaptation and participating as a partner in the „Derris project”, which initiated the definition of a local adaptation strategy to prepare small and medium-sized enterprises to deal more effectively with events – waves of heat, drought, flash flooding, floods and more – reducing existing vulnerabilities and increasing the adaptability of the Turin area.
SMAT Water Points arise also from a plan of actions that the company has conducted on environmental sustainability, aimed at finding increasingly effective tools and technologies to protect the health of the community and the protection of the environment.
Furthermore, the company, deeply rooted in the territory and active in preserving environmental well-being intact for future generations, combined with the need to provide good quality drinking water for all, is also involved in awareness projects aimed at school children and the population.
Engaged participatory processes
The action involves the commitment of the public administration, both the political and managerial part and the local company for the public water service, in fact besides the Water Points SMAT is involved in the „Growing in the City” project promoted by the City di Torino.
The company has a vast collection of educational publications written directly by business experts and addressed to specific age groups. SMAT is also involved in annual campaigns on a national scale in which all citizens are invited to visit the plants and systems of the company, always with a view to promoting correct information on the activities carried out, with the aim of answering questions, overcoming preconceptions on tap water and, at the same time, promote behaviors that contribute to reducing waste and pollution.
Sustainability and replicability
The project is definitely of social importance, and contributes to CO2 emissions reduction, plastic consumption reduction, improving people’s quality of life, creating new habits and also having an economic value both for the community and for the environment: reduction of costs for water supply and better air quality.
Similar projects exist in several Italian regions and European states, which demonstrates that this project can become easily sustainable and replicable, especially when it is sustained / initiated by major stakeholders as the city’s water supplier.
The fundamental elements for the realization of „change” are the attention and awareness of citizens to environmental problems, the political will to engage with strategies and actions to improve the environment, business strategies that promote projects, good practices that respect the environment as for example:
• Installation of Water houses on the territory,
• Water points in public offices (ex. municipal offices were equipped with about 5000 reusable glasses)
• Use of tap water in school canteens (- 2.500.000 bottles of 1.5 liters not transferred to landfill),
• Adoption of similar good eco-practices (ex. adopting Eu Ecolabel in „Hostel Open011”).
Waste, Resources, Innovation.
In the TAPE (Energy Action Plan in Turin) the action “Installation Water Points – SMAT” is located under the heading „Initiatives and events for the involvement of citizens”.
This kind of project always has the need for support and involvement from citizens to become sustainable and useful; however, involving as many citizens as possible is one of the most common challenges in any project.