Water as a primary resource to “feed the planet”. This was the key issue at the conference “Together with passion and inspiration for the future of water” held on Wednesday 7 October at the CSR & Social Innovation Show in Milan. Amapola partner Sergio Vazzoler acted as moderator.

Promoted by the CAP Group, which runs the integrated water service in a number of provinces in Lombardy, the event was an opportunity to examine the experience of Case dell’Acqua – Water Houses – as a tool for social aggregation and environmental friendliness. As CAP Group HR & Organisation Director Alberto Zanzi explained, each CAP Water House supplies an average of 1,500 litres of water per day, for a daily saving of one thousand 1.5 litre plastic bottles. Once a month, a sample of the water is tested to check that all the parameters comply with legal requirements and that the water is safe and pleasant to drink. In addition to providing environmental benefits, the Water Houses have an important social function in city squares and districts.

In Settimo Milanese, for example, as the subject of graffiti and street art, water was instrumental in the “makeover” of a square. The mayor, Sara Santagostino, recounted the experience of Open Walls, which has provided residents with a colourful new social space.

Another speaker was Natalia Larovere from Esterni.org, a cultural organisation that has been designing public spaces and promoting and organising public events for twenty years. Larovere described an interesting example of awareness raising and engagement relating to water. During the Milan Film Festival, in cooperation with the public at the festival, two videos were produced. The clips are a montage of sketches by adults and children in front of the camera, before or after the films at the festival. For example, at the Cascina Cuccagna laboratories a group of children illustrated the water cycle, from source to tap: playing engineers, chemists and mayors, they used maps, microscopes and flasks to present the important work that lies behind a glass of drinking water. The adults were asked to respond to a series of requests printed on the glasses of the CAP Group Water House in Milan’s Sempione Park.

All these experiences and forecasts confirm that water cannot be left out of the debate on the sustainable development of the planet. A recent UN report forecasts that demand for water will have risen by 55{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} by 2050, whereas within just fifteen years we could have a shortage of water equivalent to 40{f94e4705dd4b92c5eea9efac2f517841c0e94ef186bd3a34efec40b3a1787622} of the world requirement. The challenge is enormous, and has to be tackled with wide-scale decisions combined with solutions at local level, as the examples presented at the Milan meeting demonstrate.

Reports on the conference in Focus and Panorama

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