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THE WATER AGENT March 2017

THE WATER AGENT

Number 1, March 2017

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THE WATER AGENT

March 2017

Jože Cvetko, president of the association Water Agency

We do not exist without water

Our grandparents were still able to drink water from the wells, we do not dare to any more, we can only drink it from the faucet; it is regularly controlled and chlorinated. Is it really inevitable that our grandchildren will have to drink it from plastic bottles?

KOLOFON The Water Agent Publisher: association Water Agency, Sveti Florijan 56a, 3250 Rog. Slatina Društvo vodna agencija/association Water Agency, E: revija@vodnaagencija.org, bilten@vodnaagencija.org W: www.vodnaagencija.org Editor and proofreader: Monika Šeligo Translation of English articles: Natalija Ferčec Halužan Advertising: Sandi Šeligo ISSN The Water Agent is a magazine that is free of charge and comes out presumably four times a year (March, June, September, December). The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the editorial office. Rogaška Slatina, March 2017

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It depends on us all, what the water will be like and who will be the owner of the water sources in the future ... It is difficult to take care of the environment only locally and that is why we have to get connected so we can take care of it consistently and be more organized. Exchanging information on water consumption among schools from different countries is the beginning of raising awareness among future industry operators, farmers, citizens … Exactly because of the awareness about the importance of water and the wish for organized care for the environment the association Water Agency came into existence. It is a voluntary, independent, non-profit association of natural and legal persons. The association is active in the field of nature protection, is raising awareness about the importance of water resources preservation, protects and represents the water interests, helps with preservation of water resources and makes people aware about the necessity of rational water management. We start raising awareness in children very early at a preschool age, we continue with primary school students, who transfer their discoveries and knowledge in the domestic environment and so the idea keeps spreading. The goal of the association is to create a community that will intentionally work on raising awareness, education, encouragement and responsible attitude towards water. We take care of water protection, set an example for responsible water source use and raise awareness about the importance of the rational water consumption and nature conservation. In the future we would like to design a map of publicly accessible drinking water sources that is why we invite public utility companies to cooperate, since they have on their lists of water supply network also public drinking fountains. With this project our purpose is to raise awareness among the public that in order to live, we do not have to reach for bottled water in plastic bottles. We are very thankful to everyone that supports our projects directed towards raising awareness of the general public on importance of responsible attitude towards water and water sources.


THE WATER AGENT

March 2017

Majda Adlešić, Water Agency program manager

Water agent of the Danube region The development of a consumer society and mentality has led to an uncontrolled consumption and endangering of natural resources. Every year we spend all available resources and live the rest of the time ‘on credit’ with planet Earth and our debt only increases. But it is getting harder and harder to pay that debt off.

And this inconsiderate and negligent water consumption is the reason why the idea for the Water agent project came to life. We were confronted with the problem of water usage in households and started developing procedures to improve that. We created the Water agent which is primarily intended for children and schools and after that the whole community. It started with schools in Slovenia, but considering the fact that water knows no borders and that the problem of endangered natural resources is common to us all, we quickly expanded the idea. First in the west Balkans and then very quickly in the Danube region. Water agent of the Danube region became in the four year period of hard work a serious initiative in the struggle to preserve water as a natural resource, without which there is no life. From the initiative idea to monitor water consumption, we designed a project that represents the idea that water is an unalienable right of every inhabitant of planet Earth that the water quality preservation is a responsibility of every single one of us and that using drinking water for technical purposes could be replaced by alternative solutions. We have achieved exceptional results with presentations at professional and scientific conferences, public events, exhibitions and with daily communication with the web site and social media users. The project Water agent of the Danube region is taking place in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. The execution of the project began also in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hungary. With intent to connect 20 countries from the wide area of the Danube region, we connected with the

organizations from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Montenegro and Albania. We also received a substantial response to the first invitation to cooperation that we addressed to the organizations of Eco School International. We got a response from Cyprus, Thailand, Iceland, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovakia, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Romania,… We carry out the activities with the help of partnership support foremost of water resources management companies (public utility companies) and by applying for posts. In this sense we develop partnership connections in all the countries and at the same time expand the project and adjust it to the needs and problems of an individual country. We also really appreciate the logistic support we receive from various contributors. We are also successfully connected with the Celje Museum of Recent History and within the project Herman the Fox Guides through the Wondrous World of Water (Herman Lisjak vόdi po vȏdi) we present the Water agent. In the near future our project will be joined by Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province from Novi Sad and within the event “Museums of Serbia, ten days from 10 to 10” we are going to organize workshops in their natural science collection. Water agent also participated in an eco action of the Jolene Luut animation studio and a very attractive presentational video was made thanks to them. We are very active in the sense of promoting the project activities. This year we did a presentation at a conference ‘New Technologies in Education 2017’ (‘Nove tehnologije u obrazovanju 2017’) organised by British Council Serbia and the British Embassy in Belgrade and created a great interest for the project, not only in the region, but also wider. In the spring and within the activities during the EU Green Week (European Sustainable Development Week) we will be conducting presentations of the Mobile Water Station and the whole project Water agent in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia from 30 May to 5 June 2017. We invite you to join us so that with the help of Water agent we all become responsible towards the resource that is most important for our survival. Without water there is no us!!!

David Sánchez, Food & Water Europe

Standing up for our right to water all over Europe

There is a broad consensus among European citizens: water is a common good, not a commodity, and its management shouldn’t be privatized. Every time citizens are asked, via official referendums like in Italy in 2011, or popular referendums like Thessaloniki (Greece) in 2014, Madrid (Spain) in 2012 or Berlin (Germany) in 2011, they massively support public water management. But European polititians and corporations have been pushing for water privatization since the neoliberal wave of the 1990’s, through liberalization measures that tried to privatize public services. A second push started nearly a decade ago, under the debt crisis. The European Commission, together with the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank included the privatization of the main water companies among the conditions for the financial help in Portugal and Greece, while Ireland was forced to introduce water metering - in a country where water was paid through a central progressive taxation system. While those countries are still resisting, water privatization is on the table again through trade agreements like TTIP and CETA, which contains several provisions that put public water management, and water resources under international trade mechanisms. But good news spread all around Europe. Slovenia was the first country in the EU to introduce the Human Right to Water in its constitution. Spanish cities are moving towards remunicipalization of water after years of intense privatization, joining this global trend that involved more than 200 cities. And citizens keep resisting in Greece and Ireland. Slovenian campaigners for the right to water said “Without colour, without taste and without an owner. Water is freedom.” And European citizens are proving it all around the continent!

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THE WATER AGENT

Project’s content manager prof. dr. Tatjana Kikec

March 2017

The Mayor of the municipality of Rogaška Slatina, Branko Kidrič

It is never too early to Water is start raising awareness important Today’s children and youth are the future carriers of development, who will one day manage our environment. That is why it is extremely important that they develop in critical and responsible individuals, who will be aware of the meaning of environmental and especially water resources protection.

Adequate education on the meaning of water resources and their management at all levels of education is essential and at the same time the foundation of sustainable development. Because the foundations of a value system start developing in childhood, it is never too early to start raising awareness. That is why we have to develop a responsible attitude towards the environment and water resources through parenting and education, which is easiest done by using an active approach. The association Water agency with its various awareness raising activities helps with protection and preservation of nature with a special emphasis on water sources. To this end we developed the Water agent project and its goal is to increase awareness of children and adolescents about environmental and water resource protection, and to decrease the amount of consumed water. Focus group are thus children and primary and secondary school students, to which we access through educators in nursery schools and teachers in schools, who with their professional knowledge, experience and awareness transfer their knowledge and values to young generations. The project is designed in such a way that children and adolescents gain knowledge through their own activity and at the same time develop awareness that we all have to act responsibly towards environment and water sources. The project is composed of three parts: water consumption meter, online application for data entry and

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water station. Students read the meter, installed on the faucet on the washbasin in the classroom daily, weekly or monthly for the amount of used water and enter the data in the online application. In this way they get a precise insight into the amount of used water through a specific time period. They can compare data with the data of students in other classrooms at their and other participating schools and so get an insight in the fact if they consume more or less water than others. On the basis of the data they set specific goals for themselves to reduce water consumption and monitor the achievement of the goals. In this manner they are getting used to rational water use and encourage themselves to reduce its consumption. Also the parents at home become aware of this, because they often get »scolded« for not using water rationally. And in this way children and adolescents with their awareness set an example for us, the adults. Within the project, all participating schools have an opportunity to present a water station at their school. It contains technical elements of the water and public utility infrastructure that are presented to children and students in an interesting and to them understandable manner. With their own activity they get answers to questions like: Where does the water come from? How does it make its way to the faucet? Where does the waste water flow out to? … With gained knowledge children and adolescents better understand the necessity of water resources protection and rational water use. With their awareness they set an example for their peers, parents, friends and others. Every individual has to be aware of his or her impact on the environment, the positive as well as the negative one, effectiveness of environmental protection namely depends on every single one of us. Therefore it is never too early to start raising awareness! This is only the beginning of our story. In the future it will gain new chapters and new participants. And although the story is in the making, it has a clear purpose: to make children and adolescents aware that water resources are not unlimited and that is why we have to manage them responsibly.

Water is the natural staff of life. Even though our planet is composed of more than 70% of water, mankind has less than 1% of it at its disposal.

Regarding the importance of water and its limited amount, the supply of the population with it is the fundamental task of local communities and its rational use the obligation of each individual. In the municipality Rogaška Slatina, we are well aware of this. In 2009, we have therefore joined the project “Drinking water supply in Sotla river basin” together with other municipalities of the Obsotelje and Kozjansko area. The project, worth several millions, which was financed with European, national and partially municipal funds, ended in 2014. Its execution ensured suitable infrastructure and improvements of the public drinking water supply. Only in the area of our municipality, 11.9 kilometres of old, salonite water pipes have been replaced and 2.3 kilometres of new water supply has been built. In the area of the new water supply, a water storage and pumping system have been built. Additional amounts of water now enable the expansion of the network and drinking water supply to upland areas. With the realization of this project, we made an important step towards supplying our citizen with quality drinking water, which has a direct influence on their health and comprehensive development of the municipality. In the future, we want to continue with activities, which will ensure access to water and take care for the economical use and maintenance of integrity of this important natural resource.


March 2017

THE WATER AGENT

M.Sc. Aljaž Čoh, expert in the field of natural mineral waters

Categories of bottled waters The article presents categories of bottled waters: natural mineral waters, spring waters, table waters and bottled drinking waters. The emphasis is on natural mineral waters which hold a special place among foodstuffs already through legislation. From the nutritional aspect it is important to point out that among other things, water acts as a carrier for biologically important minerals which are involved in many metabolic processes. Water is the most common solvent in nature and is always a reflection of the environment, in which it resides and contains substances that dissolve in it. Every organism requires water, without it life is not possible. Water is the main ingredient of the human organism, since it is the basic building element of every cell. Water is a solvent, a medium for reactions, a reactant and also a product of a reaction. Water is necessary for cell balance, since it transports nutrients to cells and removes waste products from the cells and is therefore an important means of transport. It maintains vascular volume and enables blood circulation. Because of its great thermo-capacity, water makes an important contribution to organism’s thermoregulation; in combination with viscous molecules water functions also as a joint lubricant and is an essential part of mucus. In the body, water functions as a shock absorber during movement. This function is important for the brain and the spine and especially for protection of the fetus in the uterus. Naturally pure waters are energy-poor, contain biologically important minerals and trace elements, namely in soluble form, so that they are well accepted or absorbed in the digestive organs by the human organism. Substances are thus freely movable ions (cations and anions) and weakly dissociated or undissociated compounds.

In the European Union, two directives that classify water for nutritional purposes. The Directive 98/83/ES applies to the so-called drinking water, that is, water from a public network. The Directive 54/2009/EC applies to natural mineral and spring waters. Both directives provide also essential technological requirements for preservation of water safety for the consumers. The same applies to Slovene legislation from this field, which is covered by Rules on drinking water (Ur.l.RS 19/2004, 35/2004, 26/2006, 92/2006, 25/2009) and by Rules on natural mineral water, spring water and table water (Ur.l.RS 50/2004, 75/2005). Natural mineral waters differ fundamentally from the so-called drinking water simply because of their source, since they originate in an underground source, protected from any kind of contamination and emerge from a spring. Because of their underground source: hydrogeological conditions, composition of rock formations, length of underground water paths, how long water remains under the surface, carbon dioxide content, natural mineral waters distinctly differ among themselves and of course from regular drinking water not only by quantity, but also by different kinds of dissolved mineral substances. Continuous monitoring of parameters typical of individual natural mineral waters for a longer time period, shows that these are waters with constant chemical (composition) and physical (temperature, flow) characteristics. These waters are also subject to strict microbiological conditions at the spring itself. The equipment used in the technological process of exploitation (bottling) of natural mineral waters has to be such that there is no chance of contamination and that the same properties, like the ones the natural mineral water possesses at the spring, are preserved. Because of their special qualities, natural mineral waters are also the only foodstuff that has to be recognised by the appropriate national authorities in the country, where such water originates, as a category of natural mineral water. Such classification is not being used for any other category of foodstuffs. There are more than 2000 natural mineral waters recognised in the European Union. They can be found in the Official Journal of the European Union on a special list, which is being regularly renewed.

Spring waters are waters that are subject to the same microbiological requirements as natural mineral waters, but when it comes to other parameters, they have to meet the standards from the regulation that regulates the field of drinking water. The technological process of bottling such waters has to take place in a manner that prevents any possibility of contamination and retains the same properties that the water has at the spring. But it is not required for spring waters to keep a constant chemical composition and constant physical (temperature, flow,…) properties and this is how they substantially differ from natural mineral waters. Table waters are a category of bottled waters that can be prepared from different water sources and can contain one or more added substances (for example mineral salts or carbon dioxide). Regarding the microbiological requirements and physical-chemical properties, they have to meet the requirements from the regulation that regulates drinking water. Regulatory they are not covered at the level of the European Union, but are included in the legislature covering bottled waters only in a few Member States of the EU. Bottled drinking water is subject to similar criteria as is the water from a public network and is like table waters not covered by legislature at the level of the European Union, however they are included in the legislature that covers the so-called drinking water in individual countries. As many as 97% of all bottled waters sold in Europe are classified as natural mineral waters and spring waters, only 3% fall in the remaining two categories of bottled waters. Water is therefore an ideal energy-poor foodstuff that supplies the body with necessary amounts of fluid and at the same time delivers required mineral substances and in this way importantly contributes to a balanced diet. Stability and also diversity of the composition of natural mineral waters are from a nutritional aspect essential elements compared to other waters. However, at the same time, many of them, especially those which contain great amounts of mineral substances, are in many countries basis for development of natural spas, because they possess beneficial physiological effects on human organism.

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THE WATER AGENT

March 2017

“Water is a natural resource that has to be respected” Dr. Igor Šoltes is a Member of the European Parliament, a member of the Greens / European Free Alliance Group. He claims that water is not supposed to be taken for granted and we have to know how to respect it. By entering the right to water in its constitution, Slovenia can be an example for all others. When asked, what kind of water he drinks, he answers with no hesitation, tap water. Questions by: Monika Šeligo Photo: dr. Igor Šoltes’ archives You are active in several fields, you tackle environmental issues, self-supply, difficulties of people with special needs, protection of the »whistleblowers«, refugee issues, you fight against tax havens and the list goes on. What is the one thing that comes first and foremost for you amongst many endeavours, what is it that you most wish came true? All issues are equally important, however it is true that currently the issue of the refugee crisis is currently the most topical one. It has worse long-term consequences than the economic crisis. This is an issue that is connected to safety on one side and populism on the other side. Populism is also the one that creates and additionally encourages fear of people, who are fleeing from war. The European Union will have to know how to confront these issues, otherwise we have good cause to worry about its future.

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Regarding the fact that the Water Agency strives for a responsible attitude towards water, we should focus on water. Slovenia has entered the inalienable right to water in its constitution. Slovenia and Slovakia are the only two countries with protection of drinking water in their constitution. What have the Slovenes gained by this? This is an extremely valuable investment in our future, with which we have shown that we understand and respect the meaning of this unique natural resource. The development and prosperity of our country depend on it as well. As I have stated several times, the countries which know how to adequately preserve and manage this most valuable resource in the interest of future generations, will be the winners of the time to come. Inclusion of the water in the constitution has of course a strong symbolic me-

aning on one side and also a preventive effect on the other. Let us just remember all the attempts to privatise water resources we have witnessed in the last few years. From European troika that demanded from the countries caught in the hold of international financial institutions to privatise their water resources and water supply to trade agreements that present a great threat especially to natural goods like water. The entry in the constitution thus represents a counterweight to such market principles that are being enforced at all costs. We, the Slovenes, have stated by our constitution that we do not wish and want this. Of course, that alone is not enough, we need a complete strategic approach in the field of waters, which we have not been able to form in all these years, and it is also necessary to adequately set up regulatory decrees, therefore there is still a lot of work to be done.


March 2017 What about the European Union and its water politics? Is there enough being done in the field of natural resources conservation, are the EU efforts bearing fruit? It has been shown several times that when it comes to water the European Commission is inclined to the neoliberal logic and water privatisation pressures. Let us just remember the directive on concessions through which privatisation of water was attempted to be introduced, but people opposed it. That encouraged a European civil initiative Right2water, which was signed by 1.9 million European citizens who made a stand for universal access and human right to water being acknowledged in the European legislation. The initiative called upon the European Commission to prepare legislation which will implement the human right to water and sanitation as is acknowledged by the United Nations and will encourage to ensure water and sanitation as a basic public service accessible to everyone. Despite the massive support the European Commission to this day still has not submitted a legislative proposal that would protect the right to water in the European law. On the contrary, the official respond of the Commission to the civil initiative was extremely poor and unambitious and in the four years since the initiative was submitted virtually nothing has happened. I have called upon the Commission to make concrete steps several times, but unfortunately with no success. I hope that the Slovene story that led to the protection of the right to water in the constitution will encourage similar actions also at a European level. Slovenia can undoubtedly be an example for all other countries and European institutions as well. You pointed out to the European Commission the inadequate protection of groundwater. How can we protect it? I have brought to the Commission’s attention the fact that the EU legislation treats ground waters foremost as a source of drinking water, but they are not merely a reservoir for supplying water, they have a remarkable value also because of their unique ecosystem, which requires special protection. The Groundwater Directive protects the ground waters primarily from the standpoint of drinking water source, which is considered also in quality standards that protect human health, but the thresholds are too high to also adequately protect very sensitive underground organisms, which are extremely sensitive to even low concentrations of toxic parts and chemicals. A particular problem is caused by pollution due to agricultural, industrial and other activities that threaten the biodiversity. An example of that is the black olm, which is extremely endangered and can be wiped out by local pollution alone. Europe has far greater biodiversity of groundwater

THE WATER AGENT than other parts of the world. This extraordinary richness must be properly protected. The first step in this direction would certainly be to change the European legislation, which would put ground waters in their rightful place in nature. My hope is that this will occur as soon as possible. A free-trade agreement CETA between Canada and the European Union that you opposed has been signed. Some believe it will lead to an even more extensive use of pesticides and consequently pollution. Can it affect water sources as well? Absolutely, I have been pointing that out constantly. Especially natural resources will be most affected by an extremely problematic mechanism ICS, that is Investment Court System. It is a mechanism that gives corporations the right to bypass a state’s legal system and dispute its decisions. Corporations can sue a state in case of loss of profit or even estimated profit if for example state takes measures or brings into force laws that are deemed by the foreign investors as inadequate for them. In doing so, there are no restrictions, they can also tackle regulations from the field of environmental protection, food, public health, social and labour rights and also water. That means that corporations could sue the state because of the regulations and laws for the protection of water resources, because they would asses that they reduce their profit. It is unacceptable that such principles are allowed. It is also true that these agreements give preference to extremely intensive agriculture, which is very burdensome for the environment. Many draw attention also to the genetically modified organisms, since Canada has a very different approach from Europe, which deals with these issues with great caution. Canada is the third biggest producer of genetically modified organisms in the world and also the process of approval of genetically modified organisms itself is there completely different than in Europe. In the EU we build on the precautionary principle and in Canada on risk principle, which would, if we also had to agree to it, mean a failure of the current system that puts consumer and environment protection at the forefront. All these issues are interconnected and reflect also our attitude towards nature and this planet. Also because of that I urge national parliaments including the Slovenian National Assembly to reject CETA. Massive polluters are supposed to be farmers. Do Slovene farmers take adequate care of nature and groundwater? Is it even true that farmers are such massive polluters? (if so, what to do to prevent that…) Farmers still pose a threat to groundwater due to pesticides use. But at the same time farmers themselves point out that there is no harvest without these substances. It is the role

of the state to find a right balance between farming and nature protection. I believe that with a smart approach that is possible. It is known that you support self-supply and the path from ‘farm to fork’ to be as short as possible. What is the solution for Slovenes to be more self-sufficient, to eat healthier, locally grown food and at the same time take care of nature and non-pollution of water sources? Indeed, I emphasize all the time that locally grown food is of better quality, safer and healthier and it enables the preservation of local employment and contributes to the rise of local self-supply, rural population and landscape preservation. Because of all these reasons we have to strive for shorter food chains. As we know, by prolonging the chain from farmer to consumer, the quality of food declines, as it is subject to lengthy transport and storage and necessary substantial agro-technical measures. On the other hand, with fruit and vegetables of local origin there is no need for the use of preservatives because of the proximity of the production. Equally important is the fact that short food chains have less negative impacts on the environment. What can an individual do to improve the quality of water? I believe that what is most important here is the awareness that water is not something that we should take for granted, but it is in fact a very valuable natural resource which we have to respect and protect. Everyone has to have a responsible attitude towards this valuable good, rational water consumption is crucial here. Even the youngest generations have to be educated in this direction. Nature tries all the time to keep a balance and people should not demolish that. It is sad that our planet is no longer able to fulfill all the global needs, since in one year we use all the supply for which it takes the Earth a year and a half to renew. At this pace we would by the year 2050 need four such planets to fulfill all our needs, which is horrible. Negative effects are of course seen in climate change, pollution and mountains of waste we produce. What kind of water do you drink, bottled or tap water? Which do you trust more? Undoubtedly tap water. Here in Slovenia we have one of the best quality waters in the world and we should be proud of that. I am well aware of that also when I am in Brussels, because water there is of far worse quality and it is necessary to use special filters for everything, since without them water is only conditionally drinkable. Let me also remind you that bottled water is not only of poorer quality, but it also represents a risk because of environmental pollution with waste PET bottles. Plastics and their products are becoming a bigger and bigger destroyer of our planet and represent also a big risk to our health.

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THE WATER AGENT

March 2017

Water agent also on the five prim Krško and Kostanjevica na Krki Company Kostak that provides public utility services in the area of municipalities Krško and Kostanjevica na Krki, has made it possible for five primary schools to take part in an international project Water agent. The presentation of the project was carried out on 9th March at the Primary School Leskovec pri Krškem, which is also an ECO school. At the school they carry out several environmental activities, one of the most interesting ones are field analysis of water from rivers Sava and Krka. Posavje is a region rich in waters that has very diverse water sources, from karstic reservoirs to drinking water sources on the Krško polje, where there is also intensive agriculture. Protection of water sources is thus of grave importance. The company Kostak supports nursery schools, primary and secondary schools with raising environmental awareness, but the greatest emphasis is on water sources protection and improving the quality of drinking water and because of that they were happy to respond to the invitation of the Water Agency to be included in the Water agent project. At the event at the Primary School Leskovec pri Krškem, which began with the eco anthem of the school, the representatives of five primary schools were handed water consumption meters. 12 sections of the 3rd grades of primary schools Leskovec pri Krškem, Jurija Dalmatina Krško, XIV. divizije Senovo, Podbočje and Jožeta Gorjupa Kostanjevica na Krki will participate in the first phase of the project. In the second phase four other schools of the municipality Krško will be invited to join. The students will be able to monitor drinking water consumption in the classrooms, compare their results with other schools and they especially

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Jože Cvetko gladly explained to the students what a responsible attitude towards water is.

Špela Arh Marinčič, head of the water supply and sewage system (VO-KA) with the company Kostak, is responsible for including the company Kostak in the project.


THE WATER AGENT

March 2017

mary schools in municipalities

Jože Cvetko and new school project coordinators.

Manager of the sector of public utilities Jože Leskovar handed the five schools Vater agent packages. The event began with the school’s eco anthem. look forward to visiting the water station in the next school year. Purpose of the project is that as a part of the syllabus the 3rd grade students get acquainted with the importance of drinking water: from water source protection and to consumption of drinking water and ultimately cleaning before discharging it back into nature. Cooperation in the project Water agent is one of the activities that the company Kostak carried out in March as a part of World Water Day. This year’s subject is waste water and that is why they published a leaflet titled What does not belong in the sewage system (original title Kaj ne sodi v kanalizacijo) and on the 22nd March there will be an Open day at the cleaning plant in Krško. The company Kostak, Water agency and the primary schools all have a common goal: a responsible attitude towards the environment. If each person takes one step forward in this direction, this will be a common path towards nature conservation for the future.

Sabina Žibert

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THE WATER AGENT

March 2017

Together we are stronger The disabled people are a vulnerable group of our society that has a lot of difficulties finding work and employment. At the Water Agency we are pleased that we have an indirect possibility to help socially include this group. “We needed someone to construct the water consumption meters and so we connected with a company employing disabled people from Šentjur, which means a lot to us, because we also in some way help to make them feel better and help them to be socially included,” says Jože Cvetko, president of the Water Agency and explains that we are stronger when we work together.

In the company employing disabled people SOC-EKO they are constructing water flow meters.

The company SOC-EKO – Social economics, development and research, limited liability company (Podjetje SOC-EKO – Socialna ekonomija, razvoj in raziskave, d. o. o.) was established in year 2005 and was later transformed in a company employing disabled people. The company provides employment for

disabled people and are a company of particular importance. They are located in Šentjur at their own business premises. They offer employment to people with physical and mental disabilities and although the work is not demanding, because it is essentially constructing different items, sorting, packing…it is very impor-

SOC-EKO

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tant for their employees, because it contributes to their better social integration. Besides employment, they offer to the weaker group of our society also different psychosocial activities in form of workshops, interviews and so on. A year ago the company started working with the water Agency with the intention of putting to-

gether water flow meters. Work proved to be appropriate for their employees. “We are happy to be able to cooperate in the green project and also contribute to a rational water management. We can not survive without water, because it is essential in everyday life and beyond” says the manager of the company Toni Slatinšek.


March 2017

THE WATER AGENT

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THE THEWATER WATERAGENT AGENT

2017 March 2017

Water agents of the first primary scho The general goal of the project is an international cooperation and to raise children’s awareness on rational water consumption and the attitude towards it. By introducing additional activities in the classroom we encourage children to raise awareness among other children on the meaning of water. In the first triad children learn a great deal through play and this project enables exactly that. At our school we have water consumption meters in four classrooms and with their help we check water consumption every week and send the data to the assembly centre. We are being reminded to save water by the signs next to the washbasin, which we made ourselves. We also take notes about the amount of water consumption in our science notebook. We have made a special poster about water use. Each class also has a meter guardian. We got a visit from the Water agent representative Majda Adlešić from Novi Sad. We presented our thoughts on water and our activities. Our reflections were published in the bulletin Water agent. On Friday 21st of October in Celje a regional meeting of coordinators of an international project, Water agent, of the Danube region took place in Herman’s den. Children visited the exhibition Herman the Fox Guides through the Wondrous World of Water (Herman Lisjak vόdi po vȏdi) and were creative in Herman’s creative workshop for children “Barčica po morju plava”. A lecture titled ‘The importance of a responsible attitude towards water and water sources’ by dr. Mihael Jožef Toman was held for coordinators. Jože Cvetko conducted workshops for coordinators. Representatives of the company Tuš and Public

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Children from the 1st Primary School Rogaška Slatina are aware of the importance of water for future generations.

utility company OKP Rogaška Slatina handed the coordinators Water agent packages with new water consumption meters. On World Water Day in March we are going to carry out an activity day for first grades titled I, the Water agent (Jaz vodni agent) and organise a visit to a water station and a presentation of the water and public utilities infrastructure for students from grades 1 to 5. We are happy and proud to be a part of the Water agent project, because with it we build not only a responsible attitude towards water, but are also aware of the importance of water for future generations, since water is our greatest treasure. Project coordinator at the school Natalija Pobežin

Foto: Natalija Pobežin

We started the Water agent project in the school year 2014/2015.

Natalija Pobežin and young water agents got acquainted with the influence of water on the climate.


THE WATER AGENT

March 2017

ool Rogaška Slatina

Photo: Hospital school’s archives

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Hospital school sections, in brief Hospital school, have been operating as a part of the Primary School Ledina since 1958, but we started with the school work at the hospital in Ljubljana already in 1951. Today the Hospital school includes 19 section and 23 teachers. The Hospital school of the Primary School Ledina operates at the Pediatric clinic, children's department of the Dermatovenereological and Orthopaedic clinic, at the Psychiatric clinic and at the University Rehabilitation Institute Soča. Because of the installed meters Some students visit the hospital school children do not stop only for a few days, other for several months, washing their hands, even a whole school year. They visit the school, so but are aware of the water use. that the day at the hospital is richer and more pleasant and especially so that after they come back home it is easier for them to integrate back in the life and work of their school. More on our school and activities that are carried out, can be found on our school's website: www.bolnisnicna-sola.si/ We joined the project of the Water Agency, because we are aware of the meaning of drinking water, its vulnerability and limited resources. As an introduction in the project we told the students that the water we drink in Ljubljana comes from the groundwater, which is under Ljubljana (Ljubljansko polje), that this water source is limited and very sensitive to contamination. Every eco-conscious individual can contribute as he/she can to a lesser water consumption and can also decrease the unnecessary use of clean drinking water and so reduces water pollution. At the beginning of the school year 2016/2017, when we joined the project, we installed water consumption meters on four departments on the faucets that only the students use. We explained to the students that because of the meters we will not stop washing our hands or wash them less often, since we are at the hospital where hygiene is very important. But we have to be aware of the water use, not just clean, drinking water from the faucet, we also have to consider the problem of waste waters that have to be treated at the cleaning plant. Unfortunately too often the waste water flows directly into the watercourse. We agreed that the teacher at the department read the meters every Friday and enter the water consumption in the chart. At the end of the school year we will compare the measurements from different departments. The results can be a big help when raising awareness on water use in the future. We also tried measuring different chores children perform after art lessons or some other activities – washing brushes, washing their hands after working with clay… At the end of September when we had our first nature science day on the subject of waters, we made it more interesting with the Water Agency's project. Mirsad Skorupan, geography and history As a part of the hospital school they try to measure water use teacher in Hospital school, Ljubljana

Foto: arhiv Bolnišnične šole

SSTTUUD DEEN NTTSS‘‘ IM IMPPRREESSSSIO ION NSS:: AAna naBe Bercrc,,3.3.a:a:R Raiai

Hospital school and the Water Agency

also when conducting other chores, like washing brushes.

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THE THEWATER WATERAGENT AGENT

2017 March 2017

The international project Water agent at the Vida Pregarc Primary School At the Vida Pregarc Primary School the international project Water agent has been taking place since the beginning of the school year. Our main objectives are:

• encourage prudent water management, • establish a responsible attitude towards water, • exchange and compare the data on water consumption among schools, • inform people around us about sustainable use of water and the importance of water for life on Earth and • change and monitor the students’ habits when using water. In the classrooms of 2. a in 2. b we placed water consumption meters on the faucets, with which we measure the water use in the classroom. The meters remind us of economical water management. Our main goal is a sustainable use of water resources and concern for water sources preservation for our descendants. Every week we enter a week's water consumption in an online application. The application transforms the data in a graph. This way the students

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Foto: Saša Mezek

Presenting the 'water agent' card. as early as in the second grade learn how to observe water consumption on a graph and how to read graphs. We often use the application to see the water consumption of other students involved in the project. We also read fairy tales on the subject of water and search for solutions to preserving our planet Earth. We tackled this issue by making puppets from waste materials and using them for shadow theatre. For their actions and an active role each student has earned a ‘water agent’ identity card, which they are very proud to show off. Watery greetings from the Vida Pregarc Primary School. Saša Mezek, project coordinator


March 2017

THE WATER AGENT

The Water agent project at the Olga Meglič Primary School We, at the Olga Meglič Primary School are very aware of the importance of water for our life and that is why we joined the international project ‘Water agent of the Danube region’ in the school year 2016/2017. Water is the most valuable fluid. It is important that we keep it as clean as possible. In November we received two water consumption meters donated to us by the Public utility company Ptuj. Students of the 5. a grade took over the role of water agents. In class we talked about the importance of water and water management, rational water use, water resources preservation, raising awareness among people about the prevention of incorrect water management. Students made posters, with which they warned that wrong water management puts water quality at risk. Since November the students regularly monitor drinking water consumption, take notes and compare the amounts used. Because the amount of used water varies, students search for reasons, why some days more water is used than other days. Students used prudent thinking and came to a conclusion that by deliberate water use, we can decrease it. They introduced some ideas, how to reduce the amount of water used in school and suggested that it would be necessary to regularly check toilet cisterns in toilets to make sure they function correctly, so that water would not flow out unnecessarily. For appropriate treatment in their home environment they suggest that it would be necessary to choose ecological dish washing detergents, detergents for washing clothes, soap and so on and that when purchasing a new washing machine, it would be reasonable to pay attention to choosing an adequate washing machine

Foto: Simona Jakomini

The students of 5. a of the Olga Meglič Primary School took over the role of water agents in Ptuj. – to choose the one that uses less water. And when washing clothes, use the washing machine when it is full of dirty laundry. Students included in the project regularly spread their newly gained knowledge in their home surroundings and are sensitive to inappropriate water use in their environment. Since we wish to expand the project, we have decided that in April we will visit and take a look at the water station in Ptuj. We will also invite outside ‘coworkers’ to join us – the Public utility company Ptuj d.d., the local community, parents’ representatives… Simona Jakomini, 5. a class teacher, project coordinator

Foto: Simona Jakomini

Reading the water consumption meters is very interesting for the students, but at the same time it encourages them to rationally manage water.

Foto: Simona Jakomini

Students made posters, with which they warned that inappropriate water use endangers the quality of water.

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V THE DNIWATER AGENTAGENT THE WATER AGENT

2017 March 2017

Drop for drop for our future The Viktor Kovačić Primary School from Hum na Sutli (Republic of Croatia) joined the international project Water agent in March 2015 and is the first school from Croatia to join. Two years ago the school received a water consumption meter for the 2nd grade classroom. With it the students measure water consumption in their classroom once a week and enter the data in the class chart and then into the international application. After that there is often a discussion on the current consumption and comparison with consumption at other schools (as well as looking up other cities and towns on the map).

Since we joined the project we have carried out several projects: 1.

1. Drop for drop for our future (original title – Kap po kap za našu budućnost) 2. Drinking water – where does it come from and how much of it there is (original title – Pitka voda – od kuda dolazi i koliko je ima) 3. Acid rain (original title – Kisele kiše) In 2016 we visited, as a part of the project, our subsidiary schools Druškovec and Prišlin and also included them in the project. In the same year our central school received three more water consumption meters.

Foto: arhiv Jasminke Podhraški

Students of the fourth grade with their teacher Jasminka Podhraški.

responsible water and water resources management and visited an exhibition at the Museum of Recent History Celje. By the end of the school year we are going to visit a wastewater treatment plant in our municipality as a part of field class for stu3. dents of fourth grades, titled Waste is my concern as well (original title Otpad je i moja briga) in cooperation with the public utility company Humvio, d. o. o. At the end of March the students from first to fourth grade will get acquainted with the functioning and the role of ‘water station’. The students of the fourth grades regularly carry out activities that We look forward to further cooperation and new water chalare connected with the project. lenges. In the past years we participated in a three-day ‘water agents’ Jasminka Podhraški, project coordinator conference (in 2015) in Celje and in an international meeting for students and coordinators in Celje at an event Water agents of Herman the Fox – a lecture by prof. dr. Mihael Jožef Toman on the subject of 2.

Foto: Jasminka Podhraški

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March 2017

THE WATER AGENT

Connecting partners is an important factor in developing the project Water agent of the Danube region – examples from Serbia The project Water agent of the Danube region has in its three years of development created a lot of partnership connections. These partnerships are very important to us, since with them we not only strengthen the structure of the organization, but we also arrive to new approaches and possibilities to execute the project in praxis. In the year 2013 we started thinking about, how to expand the project outside the Slovenian borders and the greatest potential for that was in Serbia. We had a clear image that just placing the meters on the faucets and entering the data in the application is not enough. We started designing educational contents that include interactive communication with children and workshops, connected with monitoring the consumption and entering the data. On the basis of this plan a small workbook – colouring book was designed. All of this, including the pilot project in primary schools and nursery schools of the municipality Bački Petrovac, was made possible because of the funds that our partner – association of citizens ‘Kultura na dlanu’ – received from the Provincial Secretariat for Energy and Mineral Resources. In these years we have developed the educational process, improved the workbook and materials that children like to use and enriched the contents of the direct work in classes. The partnership with the association of citizens ‘Kultura na dlanu’ remained the carrier of the project through different calls for applications. This way we succeeded this school year (2016/17) to receive co-financing, so we can carry out the project also in three biggest cities, Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš and include almost 700 children. In the previous year we were able to get a very important partner, amusement park ‘Starli’ from Novi Sad. Because we interact with the same focus group, preschool children and children from lower grades, we started by carrying out educational ecological workshops in the area of the amusement park. With this partnership we gained and improved communication

3rd grade students from the Nikola Tesla Primary School from Budapest; making a poster as a team. with the public and gained new contents for working with children. The amusement park ‘Starli’ decided to support numerous schools in Novi Sad and enabled them to participate in the project Water agent of the Danube region. We are preparing a series of spring workshops and also a joint cooperation within the European Green Week at the end of May. Within the project Water agent of the Danube region we pay special attention to development of the projects in four capital cities along the Danube – in Belgrade,

A student from the Djordje Natošević Primary School from Novi Sad diligently does the tasks from the workbook.

Budapest, Vienna and Bratislava. As a part of this year's activities we have on the map of project activities Belgrade and also Budapest with including the “Nikola Tesla” Primary School in the capital city of Hungary. Thanks to the fact that the project Water agent came to life and has developed as a civil initiative, it has been developing very successfully with the help of partnerships. Majda Adlešić Photo: Majda Adlešić

Children from the Zemlja čuda Nursery School from Novi Sad; team effort in making a poster.

Poster made by students of the 3rd grade of the Učitelj Tasa Primary School from Niš.

Foto: Majda Adlešić

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THE THEWATER WATERAGENT AGENT

Water meters service Boštjan Podrepšek, s. p. Obrtniška cesta 6 3220 Štore T: 03 781 03 30, F: 03 781 03 30 GSM: 041/040 644 131 e-mail: svp@siol.net W: www.svp.si

Water meters service; Boštjan Podrepšek, s. p., from Štore is a company with a 23-year-old tradition in the field of water meter servicing and supplying. At our company we renew all types of water meters in the dimensional scale from 1/2’’ to 6’’. We have the most modern computer guided measuring lines that enable a fast and quality performance. Yearly we service and certify approximately 15.000 meters of different dimensions. With the help of Slovenian Accreditation we have become technically and professionally qualified to perform inspections. The state of the accreditation can be found on the Slovenian Accreditation's website under the number K051.

Measuring line for ‘prirobnični’ water meters.

2017 March 2017

Measuring line for threaded horizontal water meters.

The following is included in the service: • acceptance and delivery of water meters, • dismantling of the mechanism and rough cleaning, • fine cleaning (sand blasting), by agreement also colouring, • installing the mechanism SENSUS, ELSTER or by your choice all the necessary new seals, glass, regulation screw and filter, • calibration and certification of water meters, • delivery period is from 0 to 5 days, depending on the ordered amount in dimensions, • the customer gets a one year warrant on the service and installed replacement parts.

Our company, Water meters service Boštjan Podrepšek, s. p., performs processes of assessment of compliance and certification in accordance with the Decision on the appointment under the identification number MIRS ID 389.

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March 2017

THE WATER AGENT

THE WATER AGENT

The association Water Agency is a voluntary non-profit association, which is active in the field of nature protection and raising awareness on importance of water resources. It was established in 2013 with an objective to draw general public's attention to the importance of a responsible attitude towards water in the environment and its everyday rational use. That is how we started the Water agent project, which is based on the exchange of water consumption data among schools and presentations of the water station. We developed an online application that can be accessed via www.vodnaagencija.org, and an online application Water agent. We perform presentations with the water

station as a part of natural science days in primary schools. We demonstrate to the children the water cycle from the spring through the water reservoir to the consumer and then through the cleaning plant back to nature. We believe it is important that we teach young people responsible water management and carefulness when disposing dangerous substances in the environment. As a part of the project we issue a magazine Water agent every quarter. The magazine presents the activities of the Water Agency, professional articles, interviews and articles by schools that are included in the project. Public utility companies, municipal administration and primary schools receive the magazine free of charge. In Slovenia recipients receive the magazine in printed form. In Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slova-

As a non-profit organisation we finance our activities mostly from the following sources: • promotion of our partners through program implementation (sponsorship agreements) • marketing of education packs • marketing of advertising space in the magazine, on the water station and websites • donations

kia and Czech Republic the recipients receive it in English and in electronic form. The magazines (English and Slovene) are also available on the website.

We will be happy to help spread the visibility of your company and your message if it is in accordance with our mission and vision, via our website, magazine, water station and social media. For further information please contact: Jože Cvetko – +386 51 848 234, joze.cvetko@vodnaagencija.org., Sandi Šeligo – +386 31 771 556, revija@vodnaagencija.org.

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THE THEWATER WATERAGENT AGENT

www.vodnaagencija.org

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2017 March 2017

The water agent no 1  
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