Rogaška Slatina, October 8th  2018.

On Rogaška Slatina, the kingdom of water, in the exclusive area of Ana’s Maison, on October 5th  2018, was held the 4th International Conference of the Water Agency.  The conference was officially opened by the Mayor of the Municipality of Rogaška Slatina, mag. Branko Kidrič. He pointed out that infrastructure projects are in the first place in the municipality, but they are always ready to support projects aimed primarily at educating children and events that attract a large number of guests. The conference was attended by 70 participants. Expert contribution to the conference was given by 15 participants from 6 countries – Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Austria and the Netherlands.  In addition, as part of the conference, was organized a round table. In this open form of discussion, 6 representatives of companies presented their projects and entrepreneurial ideas, in a very dynamic atmosphere. All their technological processes or  products eliminate water pollution.

The topic of this year’s conference is “The impact of international communication on our Water Footprint”. Participants in their presentations and during the discussion, each from the domain of their work and dealing with water, gave completely new insights into this insufficiently known concept. Of course, the most important is the fact, the methodology of work and the results presented by the school project coordinator at the Water Footprint Network organization, Lara Wohler from the University of Twente in the Netherlands.  The data she provided as results of research work,  gave us a completely new dimension to the real consumption and pollution of water for each of us.  Especially surprisingly large quantities of water in the production of food and clothing materials. This led to a figure of 4000L / person in Europe as the average amount of water needed to serve everyday needs.

Representatives of public water management companies of Hrvatske vode and Vode Vojvodine presented their educational programs and contents,  as an impact on reducing the degree of vulnerability of the living and protected world around us. The conference was also attended by representatives of public utility companies for water and sewage from Rijeka, Slavonski Brod and Subotica. They had their  expert presentations, but also exchanged their experiences with mag. Bojan Piršem, director of OKP Rogaška Slatina.  It was specially interesting presentation by Karin Kaiblinger from the gutessen consulting. She spoke about the methodology of implementing a project promoting drinking water from the tap in the City of Vienna. Vienna is a city that gets water from the Alps, and residents have the privilege of drinking spring water. There are 900 public taps  in the city.  However, the mentality of the consumer society has led to the fact that it is now necessary to educate and motivate the children to return to the taps and drink water from the water supply instead of from a plastic bottle.

Presentation of the project  development started by dr. Tatjana Kikec, expert associate Water Agency. After that,  we have heard several successful examples of the implementation of the project Water agent in primary schools in Slovenia and Croatia and examples of good practice of cooperation between public utility companies and schools. It was particularly interesting to hear about the development of the project beyond the regional level.  Bence Cseke from IMRO DDKK Nonprofit ltd from Hungary presented two currently activated European projects: Water agent 003 financed from the Višegrad Fund program, as first. The other is Wat.Edu, a project financed by the Erasmus + program, and whose  implementation begins next month with partners from Hungary, Greece and the Czech Republic. In addition to the Water Agency   in the project Wat. Edu  a partner is I Primary School from Rogaška Slatina, also.

A special thematic block – a round table was particularly interesting and dynamic. The discussion was preceded by several surprises. First we had a live stream  from Bled Lake, from captain of the boat that sails on that lake. The boat is completely ecological, it is run exclusively by rowing. Subsequently, the voucher for the best Water Agents was presented to Jože Cvetko,   President of the Water Agency Association. The voucher was awarded by mag. Margarita Maruškić Kulaš, general manager of Aquatika – Freshwater Aquarium from Karlovac. The excursion is intended for the best participants of the project and winners of the creative competition that we open soon and is intended for the participants in the project Water  agent. After all, the participants visited very interesting exhibits in the Ana’s Maison.  Music program at the opening of the conference was performed by the students of the Music School from Rogaška Slatina and the children’s choir from the I Primary School from Rogaška Slatina, also.

After the program during the conference day, participants on October 6th organized a professional thematic excursion. First, they introduced mineral resources and the history of Rogaška Slatina with the expert for waters,  mag. Aljaž Čoha. Then they visited  the Waterway Kostrivnica, where the waters  flow from Boč and come to springs of Rogaška Slatina.  Our hosts, Jože Strniša, the president of the local community Kostrivnica and two students took guests to an old water mill that was competently renovated. We also tasted and compared mineral waters from two sites: Lenkečka, named after the family that owned the land with the water from the Royal Spring.

The  especially interesting  part of the day was  visiting ponds for cultivation of several freshwater fish by recirculation method in Šmarje pri Jelšah.  Owner mag. Danijel Gospić introduced the visitors with the whole process of production, ideas and technology and was pleased to answer their numerous and interesting questions. It was a pleasure to see a natural process and a cycle conducted through a great entrepreneurial idea.

The conclusion of all participants in the conference is that we must learn to respect Her Majesty to Water. After that, we can  work intensively on the education of children who are the best multipliers of ideas towards the whole community. Only with preserved water we defend the right to life.

Majda Adlešić, program manager of the Water agency